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Neurobehav Toxicol. 1980 Summer;2(2):107-15.

Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Albany.


The effects of prenatal alcohol on learning and retention of passive avoidance and discriminated shock escape were examined in offspring of rats who consumed isocaloric liquid diets containing either 35, 17.5 or 0% ethanol derived calories (EDC) or lab chow during pregnancy. Alcohol exposed progeny required more trials to reach criterion during passive avoidance acquisition and had shorter second trail latencies into the shock compartment than did controls. Both these measures were found to be direct functions of prenatal alcohol exposure. No differences between groups were evident during retention testing (1, 3, or 7 days later). During the 25 trial acquisition phase of T-maze escape, alcohol exposed progeny made more errors despite equivalent group performance by the end of training. During retention testing 24 hours later, these offspring again evidenced more errors regardless of whether or not the original contingencies were reversed. Both learning and retention deficits in the T-maze were directly related to the percent EDC consumed by the mother during pregnancy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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