Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Pharmacology & Toxicology

First Advisor

Dr. M. Imad Damaj


Alcoholism is a serious illness that is marked by uncontrollable drinking and physical dependence to alcohol. Long-term alcoholism has been linked to many health concerns such as cirrhosis of the liver and cardiovascular disease. Alcohol is one of the most commonly used drugs among adolescent populations. Given that adolescence is a unique developmental stage during which alcohol has long-term effects on future drug-taking behavior; it is essential to understand how early exposure to alcohol during adolescence may affect the abuse liability of the drug later in life. Indeed, most alcohol users start during adolescence suggesting that exposure to alcohol during adolescence increases the risk of alcohol abuse in adulthood. Our studies focus on identifying behavioral mechanisms involved in alcohol dependence during adolescence by using well-established mouse models of alcohol drinking. Our hypothesis is that exposure to alcohol during early adolescence will increase alcohol intake later in adulthood. We investigated the impact of alcohol drinking in male and female early adolescent C57BL/6J mice using the Drinking In the Dark (DID) model. Our results showed that exposure to alcohol during early adolescence enhanced ethanol intake later in adulthood in the DID and the 2-bottle choice drinking paradigms. In contrast, adult exposure of alcohol did not enhance later alcohol intake. Our data illustrates that enhanced alcohol intake are affected by the duration, age of exposure, and mouse genotype. In addition, we conducted behavioral studies to elucidate in part the mechanisms underlining the relationship between adolescent ethanol exposures and enhance alcohol intake in adult mice. We hypothesized that these changes in alcohol intake are due to an alteration between ethanol aversive and rewarding properties. Our results showed that ethanol exposure during adolescence induces a less aversive state (less withdrawal intensity in the FST test) later in adulthood. In contrast, our results showed that ethanol exposure in adolescence enhanced the rewarding properties of ethanol in the CPP test and alcohol intoxication (as measured by the LORR test). Overall, our results suggested that this increase in the alcohol intake was correlated with an increase in alcohol rewarding properties and a reduction of alcohol aversive effects. Further research will be required in order to more fully examine the mechanisms of action for the observed changes in alcohol intake.



My middle name spelled wrong . The correct middle name is : Mussa

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