Calorie restriction inhibits relapse behaviour and preference for alcohol within a two-bottle free choice paradigm in the alcohol preferring (iP) rat Academic Article uri icon


  • Among its many beneficial effects, calorie restriction (CR) has also been found to reduce anxiety related behavior in the rodent. With heightened levels of stress and anxiety implicated as a key precipitating factor of relapse and alcohol addiction, it was found that a 25% CR in addition to inducing anxiolytic effects also had the capacity to reduce intake of alcohol and inhibit relapse within a model of operant self-administration. The aim of this study was to investigate if a 25% CR would also display similar effects in a two-bottle free choice paradigm, whereby 24 h ad libitum access to both 10% ethanol and water is provided. All animals were initially tested on the elevated plus maze (EPM) and open field test prior to commencing the two-bottle free choice paradigm. Differences between control and CR25% animals demonstrated the anxiolytic effects of CR, with the CR25% group displaying greater percentage of open arm/total arm duration and open arm/total arm entries in the EPM. During the acquisition phase of the two-bottle free choice paradigm, CR25% animals showed a reduced intake of 10% ethanol in ml/kg, in comparison to the control group. Whilst control animals displayed a strong preference for 10% ethanol, the CR25% group consumed both 10% ethanol and water equally with no differences found in total fluid intake between groups. Similarly this was also the case following forced deprivation. In addition to reduced intake and lack of preference for 10% ethanol, CR 25% animals unlike controls failed to display a typical alcohol deprivation effect following abstinence. Taken collectively the results of this study suggest that CR may act as a protective factor against addiction and relapse in the alcohol preferring (iP) rat. In addition, given CR25% animals did not display a preference for 10% ethanol, results also suggest that CR may be altering the hedonic impact of ethanol within this group.

publication date

  • February 2013