Suppression of voluntary ethanol intake in mice under constant light and constant darkness

Alan M. Rosenwasser, Walter D. McCulley, Matthew C. Hartmann, Michael C. Fixaris, John C. Crabbe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Seasonal variations in photoperiod are associated with alterations in human mood and behavior. Similarly, manipulation of the environmental lighting regimen can exert pronounced effects on affective behavior in experimental animals. These observations may be due, in part, to light-induced alterations in circadian rhythms, but it seems likely that other, non-circadian factors also contribute. Several studies have shown that voluntary alcohol (ethanol) consumption can be affected by lighting conditions in rodents, suggesting that photoperiodic variation may account for seasonal and geographic patterns of human alcohol consumption. Nevertheless, the existing animal data are somewhat inconsistent, and little work in this area has been performed in mice. In the present study, we monitored circadian activity rhythms and voluntary ethanol consumption under standard 12:12 light–dark (LD) cycles, and in constant light (LL) and constant darkness (DD). Experiment 1 employed male C3H/He inbred mice, while Experiment 2 employed males and females from a genetically heterogeneous line (WSC). Relative to LD conditions, ethanol intake and ethanol preference were reduced under both LL and DD in both experiments. Because similar effects were seen in both LL and DD, neither circadian disruption nor a classical photoperiodic mechanism are likely to account fully for these findings. Instead, we suggest that the absence of circadian entrainment may function as a mild stressor, resulting in reduced ethanol consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-46
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Circadian
  • Constant darkness
  • Constant light
  • Ethanol
  • Mouse
  • Photoperiod
  • Preference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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