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An Unsuspected Factor which influences Consumption of Alcohol by Rats


A FEW years ago a study was made in this Department of the role of alcohol in the production of fatty livers and cirrhosis1 in rats. The conclusion was drawn that the hepatotoxic effect of long-continued consumption of non-intoxicating amounts of ethanol was negligible under the experimental conditions. Several repetitions and extensions of the work, which we hope to report elsewhere in the near future, have confirmed the conclusion. In the course of attempts to overcome a technical weakness in the earlier study, namely, some uncertainty as to the exact amount of dilute alcohol consumed daily by the rats, a device was developed by one of us that permits accurate measurements of the liquid drunk by the animals. This so-called ‘Gillespie drinking fountain’, which has now been in use in our rat-colony for about five years, catches any spillage and reduces losses by evaporation to a small known amount (about 300 mgm. or less per day).

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GILLESPIE, R., LUCAS, C. An Unsuspected Factor which influences Consumption of Alcohol by Rats. Nature 180, 1292–1293 (1957).

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