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Does a genetic reduction in the serotonin transporter affect the behavioural effects of ethanol?

Klein, L. (2015) Does a genetic reduction in the serotonin transporter affect the behavioural effects of ethanol? Master's Thesis / Essay, Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences.

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Ethanol is the most widely consumed drug of abuse used by the human population and is an important cause of health issues associated with a high socioeconomic impact. In the brain, alcoholism is associated, among others, with a decreased activity of the serotonin transporter (SERT), which facilitates re-uptake of centrally released serotonin (5-HT). Given that alcoholism in humans has a genetic component, we investigated whether rats with a genetic reduction in SERT show a differential sensitivity to the behavioural properties of ethanol. For that reason we studied ethanol self-administration, as well as ethanol induced ataxia and changes in locomotor activity in male and female serotonin transporter knockout rats. There was an interaction between genotype and ethanol dose in the level of ethanol-induced ataxia. SERT knockout rats did better relative to both heterozygous and wild-type rats and were less influenced by the ataxic effects of ethanol. Especially, a dose of 2.0 g/kg ethanol had a detrimental effect on motor coordination in heterozygous and wild-type rats, but not in SERT knockout animals. In a novel environment, SERT knockout animals showed a higher number of ambulatory counts compared to their counterparts. 1.0 g/kg ethanol induced a decrease in activity for all genotypes compared to saline or 0.25 g/kg. Ethanol self-administration was similar in SERT knockout and wild-type animals. When animals had 7 h access to ethanol, females showed a higher intake and preference for ethanol compared to males. However, when the period was extended to 24 h, males showed a greater increase in ethanol intake compared to the first 7 h period. The data suggest that animals homozygous for the SERT gene are less likely to show ethanol-induced ataxia. However, they do not show a differential sensitivity to the rewarding properties of ethanol or ethanol-induced locomotion. Therefore, the results are likely to reflect recreational ethanol intake, rather than dependence.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Degree programme: Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 08:08
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 08:08

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