Ataxia and c-Fos expression in mice drinking ethanol in a limited access session

Amanda L. Sharpe, Natalia O. Tsivkovskaia, Andrey E. Ryabinin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Background: Although previous murine studies have demonstrated ethanol self-administration resulting in blood ethanol concentrations (BECs) believed to be pharmacologically relevant, to our knowledge, no study reported to date has demonstrated intoxication via ataxia after self-administration. Thus, the goal of this study was to demonstrate ataxia and to examine changes in c-Fos expression in mice after self-administration of intoxicating doses of ethanol. Methods: Male C57BL/6J mice were trained to drink a 10% ethanol solution during daily 30-min limited access sessions. Mice were exposed to increasing concentrations of ethanol until a 10% ethanol solution was reached. BEC and ataxia, measured as foot slips off of a balance beam, were examined after the limited access self-administration session. In a separate experiment, various brain structures from mice drinking water or ethanol were examined for changes in c-Fos expression two hr after the limited access session. Results: Mice drank between 1.5 and 2 g/kg of 10% ethanol during the daily 30-min session. BECs for these mice 15 min after the limited access session ranged between 0.52 and 2.13 mg/ml. A significant increase in foot slips off a balance beam was seen immediately after ethanol consumption during the limited access session. Among mice drinking ethanol, an increase in c-Fos expression was seen in the Edinger-Westphal nucleus, and a decrease in c-Fos expression was seen in the cingulate cortex, ventral tegmental area, lateral and medial septum, CA1 region of the hippocampus, and basolateral amygdala. Conclusions: After this procedure in mice, BECs are achieved that are in a range considered pharmacologically relevant and intoxicating. Significant ataxia was observed after ethanol self-administration. Brain regions showing changes in c-Fos expression after voluntary intoxication were similar to those previously reported, suggesting that these brain regions are involved in regulating behavioral effects of alcohol intoxication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1419-1426
Number of pages8
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Alcohol
  • Animal Model
  • Balance Beam
  • Mouse
  • Self-administration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Ataxia and c-Fos expression in mice drinking ethanol in a limited access session'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this