Ethanol-induced conditioned place aversion in mice

C. L. Cunningham, C. M. Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Previous studies have shown that ethanol produces conditioned place preference (CPP) in mice when injections are given immediately before exposure to the conditioned stimulus (CS). Paradoxically, however, injection of ethanol immediately after the CS produces conditioned place aversion (CPA). Four experiments were conducted to characterize the parametric boundaries of CPA produced by post-CS ethanol exposure. Experiment 1 showed that CPA is positively related to ethanol dose, with significant CPA at 2 and 4 g/kg, but not at 1 g/kg. Experiment 2 revealed an inverse relationship between CPA and trial duration, i.e. significant CPA occurred when the trial duration was 5, 15 or 30 min, but not when it was 60 or 90 min. Experiment 3 indicated that ethanol pre-exposure (eight daily injections) significantly reduced subsequent development of CPA. Finally, experiment 4 showed that repeated exposure to the CS alone (six 30 rain exposures to each CS) after CS-ethanol pairings produced complete extinction of CPA. The same extinction procedure also completely eliminated CPP induced by pre-CS injections of ethanol. Overall, these studies demonstrate that CPA induced by post-CS ethanol injection is influenced by many of the same variables that affect CPP produced by pre-CS ethanol injection in mice. However, these findings do not resolve the issue of whether the 'before-versus-after' effect in ethanol place conditioning is better explained by assuming ethanol produces only rewarding effects or by assuming that ethanol produces both rewarding and aversive effects. (C) 2000 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-602
Number of pages12
JournalBehavioural Pharmacology
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Conditioned place aversion
  • Conditioned place preference
  • DBA/2J
  • Ethanol
  • Extinction
  • Inbred mice
  • Interstimulus interval
  • Tolerance
  • Trial duration
  • Unconditioned stimulus pre-exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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