Effects of thyroid state on preference for and sensitivity to ethanol in Fischer-344 rats
1. It has been reported by several groups that thyroid status can alter ethanol preference in rats. However, results using different methods and different strains of rats have not been consistent.2. In this study, thyroidectomy or T 4 augmentation was used to produce hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, respectively, in adult male Fischer-344 rats.3. Preference for weak solutions (4 or 5%) of ethanol or tap water and ethanol-induced sedation and hypothermia were compared in hypothyroid, hyperthyroid and euthyroid rats.4. No significant differences in preference indices (the ratios of ethanol to total liquid consumed) among the three groups were observed; however, for ethanol to contribute a greater portion of total calories ingested by hypothyroid rats than by euthyroid or hyperthyroid rats.5. The duration of sleep resulting from a single i.p. injection of 2.5 mg/kg ethanol was increased (by 34%) in hyperthyroid rats and decreased (by 16%) in hypothyroid rats compared to euthyroid controls. Only the effect of hyperthyroidism was significant at the 0.05 level.6. Colonic temperatures differed with thyroid state (hyperthyroid>euthyroid>hypothyroid) but the decrease produced by ethanol did not differ by thyroid state.7. Observed differences in ethanol-induced sedation are consistent with differences in brain TRH levels and effects on neurotransmitter systems associated with different thyroid states.
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