Addiction Continues to be a Global Crisis, With Over 3.5 Million Deaths Occurring Each Year From Alcohol Misuse and Drug Overdose1,2

 Animal models are valuable in understanding neurobiological mechanisms behind compulsion, relapse and prevention, as well as the physiological effects of addiction and treatments. 

Addiction Graphic 2

Substances Commonly Researched Using Preclinical Models:

  • Alcohol
  • Illicit Substances (ex. Cocaine, Methamphetamines, LSD)
  • Prescription Drugs (ex. Opioids, Benzodiazepines, Barbiturates)
  • Tobacco and Nicotine
  • Inhalants 


Common Species Used in Addiction Studies

mouse model


Rat model


NHP Model, Primate model, non-human primate model

Nonhuman Primates

DSI Solutions Help Researchers
Understand and Treat Addiction Using Validated Methods

The following areas of research and commonly collected biomarkers in preclinical studies are used to gain a better understanding of addiction, prevention and improved therapeutic outcomes in the clinic. 


Many drugs and addictive substances are known to cause disturbances within the cardiovascular system. Overdosing or long term use can result in abnormal cardiac function or permeant damage. Complications include abnormal heart rate, narrowing of vessels, changes in heart conduction, cardiomyopathy, hypertension, heart failure, and more.

Common Endpoints

Blood Pressure

Heart Rate

Pulse Wave Velocity

Blood Flow


Google Scholar Indexes 105 Publications Citing DSI, Cardiovascular and Addiction


From respiratory complications brought on by the long term use of tobacco products, to opioid induced respiratory depression, researchers are using animal models to evaluate how addictive substances effect lung function. The methods below help researchers gain insight into lung health and disease caused by acute and chronic substance abuse. 

Common Endpoints

Breathing Frequency

Inspiratory and Expiratory Duration

Peak Airflow Rates

Tidal and Expiratory Reserve Volume

Volume and Functional Residual Capacity

Respiratory Muscle Function

Lung and Chest Wall Compliance


Google Scholar Indexes 478 Publications Citing DSI's Buxco Respiratory Solutions and Overdose

Behavioral Testing

Animals have the ability to become addicted to alcohol and drugs, similar to humans. This makes in vivo models the only truly translatable method to reliably study addiction in preclinical studies. Researchers studying addictive behavior use objective and subjective tools to assess self-administration, tolerance, withdrawal, motivation, cognitive function, punishment, and more. 

Common Endpoints

Task Performance


Activity and Ambulation

Pain and Sensation




*Behavioral solutions are available from our Harvard Bioscience sister brands Panlab and Coulbourn Instruments. Reach out to us to learn more about how to incorporate these solutions into your current research set-up. 

Google Scholar Indexes 973 Publications Citing Panlab and Addiction
Google Scholar Indexes 2,140 Publications Citing Coulbourn and Addiction
Google Scholar Indexes 160 Publications Citing DSI, Behavior and Addiction

Nervous System

Electrophysiology provides real time information on neural activities based on frequency or voltage changes within the brain or individual neurons. Researchers use electrophysiology to gain insight into neurobiological vulnerabilities that promote substance dependency and relapse, to look at acute and chronic physiological effects caused by substances and for target identification for pharmacological treatments. 

Common Endpoints

Electroencephalogram (EEG)

Electromyogram (EMG)


Neurotoxicity - Concentration - Response Curves

Neurotransmitter Signaling

*In vitro solutions are available from our Harvard Bioscience sister companies Multichannel Systems and HEKA Elektronik. Reach out to us to learn more about how to incorporate these solutions into your current research set-up. 

Google Scholar Indexes 99 Publications Citing DSI, Nervous System and Addiction
Google Scholar Indexes 432 Publications Citing HEKA, Patch-Clamp and Addiction
Google Scholar Indexes 91 Publications Citing Multichannel Systems and Addiction


Alcohol, tobacco and drugs have a direct effect on the central nervous system and in particular the hypothalamus, which is responsible for thermoregulation. Researchers add temperature monitoring to their addiction studies to correlate changes in behavior and physiology with core body temperature. Wireless solutions allow for relevant data collection without the worry of handling side effects, like stress induced temperature changes. 

Common Endpoints

Core Body Temperature

Localized Temperature

Ambient Temperature



Google Scholar Indexes 177 Publications Citing DSI, Temperature and Addiction

Glucose Metabolism

Drug and alcohol abuse affect blood glucose control and can lead to cellular damage and chronic dysregulation in glucose homeostasis. This increases the risk for diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Researchers are also studying the addictive quality sugar has on behavior and neural networks. Monitoring glucose during addiction studies provides insight into the effects of substances on glucose secretion, insulin resistance, activity, and stress. 

Common Endpoints


Blood Glucose




Google Scholar Indexes 65 Publications Citing DSI, Glucose and Addiction


1Facts and figures. (2019, December 03). Retrieved October 07, 2020, from

2Facts & Stats. (2020, April 13). Retrieved October 07, 2020, from