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Original Research Presentation

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Original research presented orally at the 2006 Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting

Original research presented orally at the 2006 Southeastern Psychological Association Meeting


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  • 1. Effect of a GABA Antagonist on Ethanol-Induced Taste Aversions Joseph Tkacz , M.S. Stephen H. Hobbs , Ph.D. Ralph L. Elkins , Ph.D.
  • 2. Conditioned Taste Aversions (CTA)
    • What is a taste aversion?
    • Lab Procedure
      • Pair flavored water (CS) with LiCl (UCS)
      • Then, assess acceptance/rejection of CS
    • Applications
      • Treatment for substance abuse/dependence
  • 3. Taste-Aversion Prone (TAP) and Taste-Aversion Resistant (TAR) Rats
    • “ Problem” of individual differences
      • Do these have a genetic basis?
    • Selective breeding program with rats
      • Saccharin (CS) + Cyclophosphamide (UCS)
      • Selectively breed those with stronger/weaker aversions
    • Result:
      • TAP animals -> Avoid saccharin
      • TAR animals -> Consume saccharin
  • 4.  
  • 5. TAP and TAR Lines Cont.
    • TAP and TAR rats do not differ on other types of learning
    • Line differences are maintained with other CSs
    • Line difference are maintained with other UCSs
      • Notably, even drugs of abuse: alcohol, cocaine, nicotine
      • Why?
  • 6. Research with Animal Lines
  • 7. Research with Animal Lines Cont.
  • 8. Our interest: What mechanisms are involved in the aversive response to ethanol by TAP animals?
  • 9. The GABA Receptor Complex
    • GABA is found in almost every region of brain
    • It is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the CNS
    • Benzodiazepines, barbiturates and alcohol, can bind to the GABA receptor complex
  • 10. Purpose and Hypothesis
    • Determine if the GABA system plays a role in the aversive response to alcohol
    • H 1 – Antagonizing the GABA receptor site will reduce the aversiveness of alcohol, as indicated by weakened rejection of saccharin in a CTA paradigm.
  • 11. Method- Subjects
    • 50 TAP Sprague-Dawley derived rats
    • Animals were allowed to eat ad libitum throughout the course of the experiment
    • 12:12 light-dark schedule with lights on at 0600 EST; temperature of 23ºC +/- 2º.
  • 12. Method- Materials
    • Picrotoxin
      • a white, crystalline substance that has been shown to effectively antagonize the GABA A receptor site
  • 13. Pre Post Consummatory Forced Consummatory Dependent Group Injection Drink Injection Variable Hypothesis (CS) ( UCS) _______________________________________________________________________________ A Strong Conditioning Saline -> Saccharin -> Ethanol -> Two Bottle Aversion Test B Weaker Low Drug Picrotoxin -> Saccharin -> Ethanol -> Two Bottle Aversion Experimental .5 mg/kg Test C Weakest High Drug Picrotoxin -> Saccharin -> Ethanol -> Two Bottle Aversion Experimental 1 mg/kg Test D No Pseudo- Picrotoxin -> H20 -> Ethanol -> Two Bottle Aversion Conditioning 1 mg/kg Test Control E No Injection Picrotoxin -> Saccharin -> Saline -> Two Bottle Aversion Control 1 mg/kg Test
  • 14.  
  • 15. Discussion
    • The primary hypothesis was supported:
      • Picrotoxin CTA Groups > Saline CTA Group
      • Picrotoxin CTA Groups = Control Groups
  • 16. Conclusion
    • Aversive component of alcohol and GABA
    • The taste aversion paradigm
    • Picrotoxin dosage
  • 17. Future Research
    • Taste aversions to other UCSs, especially substances of abuse
    • Examining the TAR rats

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