Bell, R L; Hauser, S; Rodd, Z A; Liang, T; Sari, Y; McClintick, J; Rahman, S; Engleman, E A
The purpose of this review is to present up-to-date pharmacological, genetic, and behavioral findings from the alcohol-preferring P rat and summarize similar past work. Behaviorally, the focus will be on how the P rat meets criteria put forth for a valid animal model of alcoholism with a highlight on its use as an animal model of polysubstance abuse, including alcohol, nicotine, and psychostimulants. Pharmacologically and genetically, the focus will be on the neurotransmitter and neuropeptide systems that have received the most attention: cholinergic, dopaminergic, GABAergic, glutamatergic, serotonergic, noradrenergic, corticotrophin releasing hormone, opioid, and neuropeptide Y. Herein, we sought to place the P rat's behavioral and neurochemical phenotypes, and to some extent its genotype, in the context of the clinical literature. After reviewing the findings thus far, this chapter discusses future directions for expanding the use of this genetic animal model of alcoholism to identify molecular targets for treating drug addiction in general.