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Undergraduate Research Project Management System

Sex Differences in Ethanol Sensitivity and Metabolism in Dwarf Hamsters

Status Current
Seeking Researchers No
Start Date 08/01/2011
End Date 05/30/2012
Funding Source Undergraduate Research Grant
Funding Amount
Community Partner
Related Course
Last Updated 09/21/2011 11:09PM
Keywords dwarf hamster, ethanol

People

Faculty
  Gwen Lupfer, Ian van Tets

Student Researchers
  Alyssa Hoskie

Abstract

Unlike many rodents which need to be shaped to consume ethanol solutions (Murphy, McSweeney, Kowal, McDonald, & Wiediger, 2006), Syrian hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) will not only voluntarily consume ethanol solutions but prefer ethanol solutions in the presence of a water alternative (DiBattista & Joachim, 1999). Interestingly, however, Syrian hamsters will stop drinking ethanol solutions in the presence of palatable solutions (Piercy & Myers, 1995), which suggests that they are not an appropriate model of alcohol dependence. Research has suggested that this lack of dependence on alcohol may be due to the hamsters' ability to metabolize alcohol quickly with higher levels of hepatic alcohol dehydrogenase activity, particularly in female hamsters (Moss et al., 1987). These researchers have also found that the central nervous systems (CNS) of female Syrian hamsters were less sensitive to alcohol than male hamsters. Dwarf hamsters (Phodopus campbelli) like Syrian hamsters will drink voluntary and will stop the consumption of alcohol in the presence of palatable solutions (Lupfer-Johnson, Radcliffe, Crew, Hoskie, Merculieff, & Murphy, 2011). The purpose of the proposed project is to measure hepatic alcohol dehydrogenase activity in dwarf hamsters and to examine if any sex differences exist in the levels of alcohol dehydrogenase activity as well as central nervous system sensitivity. It is expected that like Syrian hamsters, female dwarf hamsters will exhibit high levels of alcohol dehydrogenase activity as well as low CNS sensitivity when compared to male dwarf hamsters.

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