Effects of topiramate on ethanol and saccharin consumption and preferences in C57BL/6J mice

Kara I. Gabriel, Christopher L. Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Background: Topiramate has recently been found to be more effective than placebo as an adjunct treatment for alcohol dependence, but it has not yet been investigated in animal models of ethanol consumption. The current experiment examined the effects of topiramate on ethanol drinking in mice using a continuous access, two-bottle choice procedure. Methods: C57BL/6J male mice were offered a 10% v/v ethanol solution versus tap water over 4 consecutive days per week. Mice were assigned to topiramate (1-50 mg/kg) or saline groups and received injections before the beginning of the dark phase of the light cycle. Topiramate dose increased over 5 successive weeks (1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 mg/kg). Fluid intake was measured 2, 4, and 23 hr after injection. Body weight and food intake were measured at the time of injection. In a second phase, mice were offered saccharin solutions (0.2 and 2.5% w/v) versus tap water after topiramate (50 mg/kg) or saline injections. Results: Results revealed that high topiramate doses (25 and 50 mg/kg) increased water intake and decreased ethanol preference. Compared with saline controls, topiramate produced dose-dependent, bidirectional effects on ethanol dose, with 25 mg/kg of topiramate increasing ethanol dose at 4 and 23 hr after injection but 50 mg/kg topiramate decreasing ethanol dose at 2 hr after injection. During saccharin exposure, topiramate decreased saccharin preference (for 2.5% w/v saccharin solution) and marginally increased water intake but did not directly alter intake of the saccharin solutions. Topiramate had no effects on body weight or daily food intakes. Conclusions: Topiramate reduced ethanol preference in C57BL/6J mice, but this effect was primarily attributable to elevated water intake. Topiramate also reduced saccharin preference, likely through marginally significant increases in water intake. Increases in water intake and bidirectional effects of topiramate on ethanol dose complicate conclusions with regard to the effects of topiramate on ethanol reward.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-80
Number of pages6
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005


  • Alcohol
  • C57BL/6J mice
  • Drinking
  • Reward
  • Topiramate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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