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Characterization of operant intravenous alcohol self-administration in humans

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 — Poster Session III

12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

FAES Academic Center



* FARE Award Winner


  • BL Stangl
  • J Westman
  • M Zametkin
  • VA Ramchandani


The objective of this study was to characterize operant IV alcohol self-administration (IV-ASA) in non-dependent drinkers using a free-access (FA) and a progressive-ratio (PR) paradigm. Participants (N=72) completed two IV-ASA sessions, each consisting of a priming phase followed by an open-bar phase using a FA schedule (one button press per infusion) and a PR schedule (increasing number of button presses per infusion). Measures of impulsivity, expectancy, and sensitivity to reward were collected. IV-ASA measures were associated with drinking history, alcohol sensitivity, and sensitivity to reward. Self-reports of alcohol urges were associated with IV-ASA measures for both FA and PR paradigms. Number of rewards was associated with measures of expectancy and impulsivity for both paradigms. Individuals with higher expectancy of negative alcohol effects and those with higher impulsivity showed lower responses on both paradigms. In the FA paradigm, higher IV-ASA was associated with greater rewarding effects, while in the PR paradigm, higher IV-ASA was associated by rewarding effects and alcohol urges. These results indicate that IV-ASA measures reflect drinking history, alcohol sensitivity and expectancy effects. Comparison of the association between subjective perceptions of intoxication, stimulation and alcohol urges between paradigms may provide important information on determinants of alcohol seeking and intake.

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