The Animal and Phenotyping Core will provide services to all Components and Pilot Projects that require the use of mice. The main objective is to streamline animal production, distribution and testing of key phenotypes for Portland Alcohol Research Center (PARC)-related, and when possible, other projects. The Core will purchase mice for use in experiments or as breeders, assist in the creation or maintenance of animals of specific genotypes (e.g., knockouts, transgenics, selected lines), test mice for ethanol consumption, acute ethanol withdrawal, chronic ethanol withdrawal, "impulsivity" (using the Go/No-Go task), and withdrawal-induced drinking, and perform blood and brain ethanol concentration analyses as needed. The Phenotyping Division of the Core will optimize procedures for all traits for which it will oversee data collection. Members of the PARC with proven expertise have been included as key personnel to make certain that data are of the highest quality. The Core will determine animal distribution and phenotyping priorities, and maintain a database with individual animal information that can be communicated to investigators and to the Molecular and Bioinformatics Core (Component 3). As has been the case for the past and current years of the PARC, the breeding, production, procurement and supply of genetic animal models will remain under the direction of Dr. Tamara Phillips, Director. Dr. Phillips will also have responsibility for oversight of ethanol consumption data collection. Dr. Pamela Metten will continue as a Co-Director of the Core and will continue to take responsibility for oversight of dependence induction and training in withdrawal measurements, as well as blood and brain ethanol concentration measurement and analysis. Dr. Deborah Finn has been added as a Co-Director to provide expert advice for studies focused on ethanol withdrawal-induced drinking, since she has special expertise from her work associated with the Integrative Neuroscience Initiative on Alcoholism. Finally, Dr. Suzanne Mitchell is a newly added Co-Director who will oversee "impulsivity" data collection in mice, using a Go/No-Go task. Research results from the current 5-year period have led to newly proposed research across several components directed at more detailed analyses of relationships between ethanol drinking, withdrawal and impulsivity/response inhibition.
Mice with specific genetic characteristics have been established as important tools in the search for genes that influence risk for alcohol use disorders. Genetic mechanisms that influence alcohol drinking, alcohol withdrawal enhanced drinking, and level of impulsivity are all thought to be important to risk. This Core will facilitate research in this area by creating and distributing genetically defined mice to identify gene networks that could be important to risk for alcoholism.
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