Distinct ethanol drinking microstructures in two replicate lines of mice selected for drinking to intoxication

A. M. Barkley-Levenson, J. C. Crabbe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The High Drinking in the Dark (HDID) mice have been selectively bred for reaching high blood ethanol concentrations (BECs) following the limited access Drinking in the Dark (DID) test. We have shown previously that mice from the first HDID replicate line (HDID-1) drink in larger, but not longer, ethanol drinking bouts than the low-drinking HS/Npt control mice when consuming modest amounts in the DID test. Here, we assessed drinking microstructure in HDID-1 mice during binge-like levels of ethanol intake using a lickometer system. Mice from both HDID replicates (HDID-1 and -2) and HS mice were also given three DID tests (single-bottle ethanol, two-bottle choice and single-bottle saccharin) using a continuously recording BioDAQ system to determine whether there are selection-dependent changes in drinking microstructure. Larger ethanol bout size in the HDID-1 mice than the HS mice was found to be due to a larger lick volume in these mice. HDID-1 and HDID-2 mice were also seen to have different drinking microstructures that both resulted in high intake and high BECs. The HDID-1 mice drank in larger ethanol bouts than HS, whereas HDID-2 mice drank in more frequent bouts. This pattern was also seen in two-bottle choice DID. The HDID-2 mice had a high bout frequency for all fluid types tested, whereas the large bout size phenotype of the HDID-1 mice was specific to alcohol. These findings suggest that selection for drinking to intoxication has resulted in two distinct drinking microstructures, both of which lead to high BECs and high ethanol intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)398-410
Number of pages13
JournalGenes, Brain and Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol
  • Binge drinking
  • BioDAQ
  • Drinking in the dark
  • Lickometer
  • Mice
  • Microstructure
  • Replicate lines
  • Saccharin
  • Selective breeding
  • Two-bottle choice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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