Concomitant stress potentiates the preference for, and consumption of, ethanol induced by chronic pre-exposure to ethanol
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Ethanol abuse is linked to several acute and chronic injuries that can lead to health problems. Ethanol addiction is one of the most severe diseases linked to the abuse of this drug. Symptoms of ethanol addiction include compulsive substance intake and withdrawal syndrome. Stress exposure has an important role in addictive behavior for many drugs of abuse (including ethanol),but the consequences of stress and ethanol in the organism when these factors are concomitant results in a complex interaction. We investigated the effects of concomitant, chronic administration of ethanol and stress exposure on the withdrawal and consumption of, as well as the preference for, ethanol in mice. Male Swiss mice (30–35 g, 8–10 per group) were exposed to an ethanol liquid diet as the only source of food for 15 days. In the final 5 days, they were exposed to forced swimming stress. Twelve hours after removal of the ethanol liquid diet, animals were evaluated for ethanol withdrawal by measuring anxietyrelate behaviors and locomotor activity. Twenty-four hours after evaluation of ethanol withdrawal, they were evaluated forvoluntary consumption of ethanol in a “three-bottle choice” paradigm. Mice exposed to chronic consumption of ethanol had decreased locomotor activity during withdrawal. Contrary to our expectations, a concomitant forced swimming stress did not aggravate ethanol withdrawal. Nevertheless, simultaneous ethanol administration and stress exposure increased voluntary consumption of ethanol, mainly solutions containing high concentrations of ethanol. These results showed that stressful situations during ethanol intake may aggravate specific addiction-related behaviors.