A Line of Mice Selected for High Blood Ethanol Concentrations Shows Drinking in the Dark to Intoxication

John Jr Crabbe, Pamela Metten, Justin S. Rhodes, Chia Hua Yu, Lauren Lyon Brown, Tamara J. Phillips, Deborah A. Finn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


Background: Many animal models of alcoholism have targeted aspects of excessive alcohol intake (abuse) and dependence. In the rodent, models aimed at increasing alcohol self-administration have used genetic or environmental manipulations, or their combination. Strictly genetic manipulations (e.g., comparison of inbred strains or targeted mutants, selective breeding) have not yielded rat or mouse genotypes that will regularly and voluntarily drink alcohol to the point of intoxication. Although some behavioral manipulations (e.g., scheduling or limiting access to alcohol, adding a sweetener) will induce mice or rats to drink enough alcohol to become intoxicated, these typically require significant food or water restriction or a long time to develop. We report progress toward the development of a new genetic animal model for high levels of alcohol drinking. Methods: High Drinking in the Dark (HDID-1) mice have been selectively bred for high blood ethanol concentrations (BEC, ideally exceeding 100 mg%) resulting from the ingestion of a 20% alcohol solution. Results: After 11 generations of selection, more than 56% of the population now exceeds this BEC after a 4-hour drinking session in which a single bottle containing 20% ethanol is available. The dose of ethanol consumed also produced quantifiable signs of intoxication. Conclusions: These mice will be useful for mechanistic studies of the biological and genetic contributions to excessive drinking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)662-670
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2009


  • DID
  • HDID
  • ethanol consumption
  • genetic animal models
  • intoxication
  • mouse
  • pharmacogenetics
  • selective breeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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