Alcohol use disorder (AUD), a chronic brain disorder, is characterized by a multitude of symptoms, including insomnia, during withdrawal. Previously, we have shown that rats exposed to chronic alcohol displayed insomnia-like symptoms during acute withdrawal. Since insomnia lasts for several years and is a major risk factor of relapse to alcoholism, the present study is designed to investigate the long-term effects of alcohol withdrawal on sleep-wakefulness.
Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats, instrumented with sleep recording electrodes, were divided into two groups: Alcohol and Control. Rats were either administered alcohol (35% v/v), mixed with infant formula (Alcohol group) or control mixture containing water and infant formula (Controls; 10 mL/kg) every 8 h for 4 days using Majchrowicz’s chronic binge drinking protocol. Electrographic recordings of sleep-wakefulness were performed until withdrawal day 7, however, the data was analyzed for withdrawal days 3, 5 and 7 in both Control and Alcohol groups.
As compared to the controls, alcohol-exposed rats displayed insomnia-like symptoms as revealed by a) significant reduction in the quantity and quality of sleep during the light (inactive) period and b) a significant increase in NREM sleep with a concomitant reduction in the amount of time spent in the wakefulness during the dark (active) period of alcohol withdrawal.
Our results suggest that the chronic binge model of alcohol dependence mimics clinical symptoms of AUD especially protracted insomnia and is suitable for understanding the mechanisms associated with alcohol withdrawal-induced behaviors.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.