"Binge" drinking experience in adolescent mice shows sex differences and elevated ethanol intake in adulthood

Moriah N. Strong, Naomi Yoneyama, Andrea M. Fretwell, Chris Snelling, Michelle A. Tanchuck, Deborah A. Finn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Binge drinking, defined as achieving blood ethanol concentrations (BEC) of 80 mg%, has been increasing in adolescents and was reported to predispose later physical dependence. The present experiments utilized an animal model of binge drinking to compare the effect of ethanol "binge" experience during adolescence or adulthood on subsequent ethanol intake in male and female C57BL/6 mice. Adolescent and adult mice were initially exposed to the scheduled high alcohol consumption procedure, which produces BECs that exceed the levels for binge drinking following a 30-min ethanol session every third day. Ethanol intake and BECs were significantly higher in the adolescent (~3 g/kg, 199 mg%) versus adult (~2 g/kg, 135 mg%) mice during the first three ethanol sessions, but were more equivalent during the final two ethanol sessions (1.85-2.0 g/kg, 129-143 mg%). Then, separate groups of the ethanol-experienced mice were tested with ethanol naïve adolescent and adult mice for 2-h limited access (10% and 20% solutions) or 24-h (5%, 10% and 20% solutions) ethanol preference drinking. Limited access ethanol intake was significantly higher in female versus male mice, but was not altered by age or ethanol experience. In contrast, 24-h ethanol intake was significantly higher in the adolescent versus adult mice and in female versus male mice. Furthermore, binge drinking experience in the adolescent mice significantly increased subsequent ethanol intake, primarily due to intake in female mice. Thus, adolescent binge drinking significantly increased unlimited ethanol intake during adulthood, with female mice more susceptible to this effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-90
Number of pages9
JournalHormones and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Alcohol
  • Blood ethanol concentration
  • Preference
  • Self-administration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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