A mouse model of alcoholism

Huub Rijk, John C. Crabbe, Henk Rigter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A model of alcoholism should demonstrate self-administration of alcohol by the animal and a withdrawal syndrome when the animal no longer has access to the drug. A mouse model is described that meets these criteria and enables the induction of "alcoholism" in a large number of animals within a short period of time. Mice were injected daily with pyrazole, an inhibitor of alcohol dehydrogenase. The animals self-administered ethanol by inhaling vapour containing a relatively constant concentration of ethanol. Self-administration was voluntary: the mice could move to a chamber without ethanol vapour. During the first six days of each experiment, the animals were prompted to select the ethanol chamber by darkening that chamber. Most mice continued to self-administer ethanol without any prompting for at least 3 days; thereafter, preference for ethanol waned. Self-administration led to measurable levels of ethanol in blood and to the development of withdrawal when infusion of vapour was stopped.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)833-839
Number of pages7
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1982


  • Alcohol dependence
  • Alcoholism
  • Animal model
  • Inhalation of ethanol
  • Self-administration of ethanol
  • Withdrawal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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