Influence of reinforcement schedule on ethanol consumption patterns in non-food restricted male C57BL/6J mice

Matthew M. Ford, Andrea M. Fretwell, Gregory P. Mark, Deborah A. Finn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Ethanol reinforcement should ideally be evaluated in animals that are not food deprived to ensure that the motivation behind its consumption is pharmacological, and not caloric, in nature. The objective of this work was to assess the influence of reinforcement schedule on ethanol intake in nondeprived mice. Male C57BL/6J mice were trained to respond on an ethanol-reinforced lever on a fixed ratio 4 reinforcement schedule for 10% ethanol (10E). The appetitive and consummatory phases were then procedurally separated by changing the response requirement (RR), so that mice were permitted 30-min continuous 10E access after completion of either four (RR4) or eight (RR8) responses. Phase separation yielded a heightened appetitive drive to acquire 10E access (as indexed by a significant decrease in the latency to first active lever and a trend toward a decrease in the latency to first sipper contact) and an augmented level of drinking (twofold elevation in the ethanol dose consumed). Robust extinction responding on the ethanol-appropriate lever indicated that ethanol was effective as a behavioral reinforcer. These results suggest that the separation of appetitive and consummatory phases of ethanol self-administration may prove useful in future evaluations of the pharmacological and genetic bases of ethanol reinforcement in mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-29
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2007


  • Alcohol reinforcement
  • Animal model
  • Appetitive
  • Consummatory
  • Drinking patterns
  • Operant conditioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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