Introduction: Anxiety and negative sensations due to alcohol withdrawal are factors
leading to alcohol relapse and addiction. Minocycline, an antibiotic, can decrease alcohol consumption
in rats, however, its effects on alcohol withdrawal anxiety and relapse have not been studied.
Material and Methods: Part 1: Forced alcohol drinking in gradually increasing concentration was
administered till day 22 in rats. Effect of drugs on anxiety was assessed using elevated plus maze
(EPM) and two-chambered box apparatus, after removal of alcohol. Part 2: For relapse, an alcohol
deprivation effect model was used, rats were continuously offered alcohol and water for 4 consecutive
weeks in a two-bottle choice paradigm, followed by 2 weeks of alcohol deprivation. Effect of
drugs on alcohol consumption during the first hour of alcohol reintroduction was assessed. Animals
were sacrificed and whole brain Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) α was estimated.
Results: Part 1: Anxiety at 3 hours was significantly lower following minocycline (20 mg/kg i.p.) or
diazepam compared to vehicle control. Part 2: Acute administration of minocycline (5,10 and 20
mg/kg, i.p.) suppressed alcohol consumption significantly (p value<0.05) as compared to vehicle
control. A significant decrease in whole brain TNF α was observed in animals treated with minocycline
compared to untreated animals.
Conclusion: Minocycline attenuates alcohol withdrawal anxiety and disrupts alcohol relapse.