Preclinical studies of alcohol binge drinking

John C. Crabbe, R. Adron Harris, George F. Koob

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

165 Scopus citations


Binge drinking is prevalent and has serious biomedical consequences. In children, adolescents, and young adults, it is a prominent risk factor for later development of alcohol-use disorders. Many preclinical models have been employed to study the genetic risks for and biomedical consequences of alcohol drinking. However, these models historically did not result in blood-alcohol concentrations (BACs) exceeding 80 mg%; this relatively modest level is the threshold that currently defines a binge session, according to the NIAAA and CDC. Nevertheless, in alcohol-dependent rodents, binge drinking has been well documented. Key neurobiological substrates localized to brain reward and stress systems have been identified. Studies of newer models of binge drinking without dependence are reviewed here. In these models, rodents, non-human primates, and flies will drink enough to reach high BACs. They often display observable signs of intoxication. The neurobiological consequences of these episodes of binge drinking without dependence are reviewed, and preliminary evidence for roles for GABA, glutamate, opioid peptides, and corticotropin releasing factor are discussed, as is the need for more work to identify the antecedents and consequences of binge drinking in both animal models and humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-40
Number of pages17
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol
  • Animal models
  • Binge drinking
  • Intoxication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Preclinical studies of alcohol binge drinking'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this