There’s a new mouse in the game for alcoholism and addiction researchers. Developed by Nicholas Grahame, an associate professor of psychology at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and colleagues, the animals drink more alcohol than other rodent models, choose alcohol over other options, and binge drink—all of which makes for much drunker mice.
Previous mouse models of alcoholism would choose to drink water, even when alcohol was available. The only way to get them really drunk is to take the water away, or to directly administer the alcohol. The new mouse line, on the other hand, always chooses alcohol, just like human alcoholics, reaching blood-alcohol levels more than three times the equivalent of the human legal driving limit—approximately the level of severe human alcoholics.
“This line of high-alcohol-seeking mice should be able to give us a better understanding of the basic brain mechanism involved in alcohol consumption as well as greater insight into the toxic effects on the brain, with the goal of developing therapies,” Grahame said in a press release.
This new strain, which was created by selective breeding for 40 generations, was announced in a paper published online last month (November 29) in Addiction Biology.