Are Female Animal Models Of Alcoholism Helpful In Evaluating The Adverse Effects Of Alcohol

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Female animal models of alcoholism should be used to study the effects oflong-term alcohol exposure. However, investigators need to consider variables such as the level/concentration of ethanol intake, the pattern of weight gain as well as the absolute weight gain, and hormone levels. As noted above, we have found that female rodents drink less alcohol than male rodents (Table 4.6). Our findings differ from those of others, who have reported that female rodents drink more than male rodents [38,39],

We have also found that the pattern of drinking and amount of daily Lieber DeCarli ethanol diet consumption is more variable among female rats compared to male rats (Figures 4.4 and 4.5).

Figure 4.4 Lieber DeCarli diet consumption for two different female cohorts.
Figure 4.5 Lieber DeCarli diet consumption for two different male cohorts.

Table 4.6 Comparison of male and female body weight and Lieber DeCarli diet consumption

Sex Drinkingperiod Average body 'weight at the Ethanol Consumption end of theprotocol

Table 4.6 Comparison of male and female body weight and Lieber DeCarli diet consumption

Sex Drinkingperiod Average body 'weight at the Ethanol Consumption end of theprotocol

ml/day

gm/day

g/kg/day*

Male

5

526 ± 82

82 ± 2.7

5.6 ± 0.68

10.7

8

477 ± 74

70±2.1

4.9 ± 0.70

10.2

Female

5

393 ± 65

68 ± 2.4

3.4 ± 0.50

8.6

8

282 ± 21

60±1.6

3.1± 0.47

10.9

Values are mean ± SD. ml/day represents the average daily amount of diet consumed and was calculated by averaging how much animals drank every 10 days. Similarly, gm ethanol/day represents the average daily ethanol (gm/day) and was calculated by averaging how much animals drank every 10 days. * g/kg/day was calculated by dividing the average gm/day by the ending body weight.

Values are mean ± SD. ml/day represents the average daily amount of diet consumed and was calculated by averaging how much animals drank every 10 days. Similarly, gm ethanol/day represents the average daily ethanol (gm/day) and was calculated by averaging how much animals drank every 10 days. * g/kg/day was calculated by dividing the average gm/day by the ending body weight.

In addition, the pattern of drinking appears to be different between cohorts of female animals (Figure 4.4). Lieber DeCarli liquid diet intake is shown in Figure 4.4 for two different cohorts of female rats; one group drank for 5 months (preliminary data above) and another drank for 8 months (ongoing studies). Similar to others, we found that in both cohorts of female rats the average daily amount of diet consumed was variable [39], However, the average daily ethanol intake (gm/day) in the 5-month cohort was significantly greater than in the 8-month cohort (3.4 ± 0.50 vs.3.1± 0.47 gm ethanol/day,^p < 0.05). The end body weight of the 5-month cohort was 393 ±65 gm compared to the 282 ±21 gm body weight of the 8-month cohort. However, when ethanol intake was normalized to the end body weight, the 8-month cohort appeared to consume comparatively more ethanol (Table 4.6). These are female Sprague-Dawley rats, which are an outbred strain. Therefore, in this strain there may be more genetic variability, which may affect the ethanol preference and daily ethanol intake. Investigators should carefully consider the strain of female rat to be used in alcohol studies and choose a strain that exhibits less of a variation in daily alcohol intake.

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