Depressed-like behavior and alcohol drinking are co-morbid but independent in the fawn-hooded rats
Amir H. Rezvani (1) and David H. Overstreet (2)
(1) Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA; (2) University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
Suicidal Behavior in Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Dependence. Hauppauge, New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2010, 540 pages.
The Fawn-Hooded (FH/Wjd) rat is an inbred strain that exhibits symptoms analogous to those exhibited by human depressives and alcoholics. The exaggerated swim test immobility and increased basal coticosterone levels are two of the depressed-like symptoms; importantly, these symptoms are reduced following chronic antidepressant treatments. Like alcoholics, the FH rat drinks excessive amounts of alcohol voluntarily that if allowed to continue will lead to tolerance and dependence, as revealed by anxiety-like behavior upon withdrawal of the alcohol. The human literature is inconclusive on how these two comorbid conditions are related; however, data in the animals clearly points to them being independent. Genetic studies (F1 and F2 crosses, QTL) indicate no genetic overlap. Chronic treatment with antidepressants selectively reduces the depressed-like symptoms. Thus, the depressed-like behavior and excessive alcohol drinking appear to be independent traits in the FH/Wjd rat.