Sex differences in adolescent ethanol drinking to behavioral intoxication

Sara R. Westbrook, Minsu Kang, Luke K. Sherrill, Dylan O'Hearn, Tanya Krishnamani, Joshua M. Gulley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rodent models have been especially useful for investigating adolescent ethanol exposure. However, there is a paucity of studies examining sex differences in behavioral intoxication from adolescent ethanol drinking. Here, we used an ethanol drinking model to investigate if adolescent rats of both sexes readily drink ethanol to measurable behavioral intoxication, indicated by increased impulsive action and motor incoordination. Beginning on postnatal day (P) 28, male and female Long-Evans rats were given 30-min access to a solution of sucrose (20%) or sweetened ethanol (20% sucrose +15% ethanol) every other day until P60 and once after 2 weeks of forced abstinence (on P75). On alternate (nondrinking) days, rats were reinforced with a food pellet for making a cued nosepoke response. Beginning on P56, rats were tested in this task after drinking sessions to assess ethanol-induced changes in impulsive action, defined as premature responding prior to cue presentation. Motor coordination was assessed before and after drinking sessions using an incline plane test. Adolescent male and female rats readily consumed ethanol to behavioral intoxication, measured as reduced motor coordination. Following forced abstinence, females displayed greater ethanol-induced impulsive action. These studies provide evidence for sex differences in behavioral intoxication following adolescent ethanol drinking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-62
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • consumption
  • ethanol
  • impulsive behavior
  • nose poke
  • rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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