REVIEW | Institution: Baylor University, Waco, Texas
Abstract: Place conditioning procedures have been used to study human addiction to alcohol for the past several years. This experimental resource has been utilized successfully due to the fact that investigators can carefully manipulate the experimental design in order to explore specific hypotheses. Only three choices exist regarding animal response to place conditioning: aversion, preference, or no change. This review provides an in-depth analysis of five variables commonly adjusted or changed in place conditioning experiments with ethanol. These include: apparatus design, administration methods, choice of model organism, age of model organism, and model paradigms. It is suggested that the two-chamber design, the intragastric administration, the mouse model, the adolescent age group, and the pre-exposure to stress paradigm are the best current options available in place conditioning experiments with ethanol. The basis for evaluation used throughout this review is that investigators should adjust the variables employed in place conditioning experiments in a manner that most accurately represents and models complex human addiction to alcohol.