Reduced ethanol-induced conditioned taste aversion and conditioned place preference in GIRK2 null mutant mice

Katherine G. Hill, Herminia Alva, Yuri A. Blednov, Christopher L. Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Scopus citations


Rationale: Previous studies have shown that GIRK2 channel function is enhanced by ethanol and that GIRK2 null mutant mice are less sensitive to some of ethanol's effects, including anxiolysis, habituated locomotor stimulation, and acute handling-induced convulsions than wild types. Under some conditions, GIRK2 knockout mice consume more ethanol than wild types, but it is unclear whether they do so because they are more sensitive to ethanol's rewarding effects or less sensitive to its aversive effects. Objective: To further assess the role of GIRK2 in ethanol action, GIRK2 null mutant and wild type mice were tested in conditioning models that measure the motivational effects of ethanol. Method: In a conditioned taste aversion (CTA) procedure, knockout and wild type mice were given ethanol (0.0, 2.0, 2.5, or 3.5 g/kg, IP) following 1-h access to saccharin every 48 h over a 10 day period. In a conditioned place preference (CPP) procedure, knockout and wild type mice were given ethanol (2.0 or 3.0 g/kg, IP) paired with one stimulus (grid or hole floor) and saline paired with the other. After four 5-min trials with each stimulus, a 60-min choice test was done. Results: The results demonstrated a genotypic difference in both paradigms. In CTA, there was no difference between genotypes at 0.0 or 3.5 g/kg ethanol, but at the 2.0 and 2.5 g/kg doses, wild types developed a stronger aversion to saccharin than knockouts. In CPP, wild types developed place preference, but knockouts did not. Conclusions: These studies show that GIRK2 deletion reduced ethanol's impact in tasks that are commonly used to index the drug's rewarding and aversive effects. These findings could reflect either a learning/memory deficit or decreased sensitivity to ethanol's motivational effects in null mutant mice. The latter interpretation is more consistent with previous data showing that knockout mice consume higher doses of ethanol than wild type mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-114
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003



  • Conditioned place preference
  • Conditioned taste aversion
  • Ethanol
  • GIRK2 channel
  • Knockout mice
  • Learning and memory
  • Locomotor activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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