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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1993 Feb;44(2):307-12.

Effects of in utero administration of alcohol on alcohol sensitivity in adult rats.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque 87131.


In utero exposure to alcohol has been associated with many physical deficits and behavioral abnormalities. The purpose of these studies was to determine the effects of in utero administration of alcohol on behaviors related to tolerance and sensitivity to alcohol in adult rats. Pregnant rats were maintained on a liquid diet containing alcohol [35% ethanol-derived calories (EDC)] throughout pregnancy. Offspring manifested physical characteristics of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The 35% EDC group was able to stay on a wooden dowel longer and at higher blood alcohol concentrations than were pair-fed controls. Following a hypnotic dose of alcohol, rats in the 35% EDC group slept longer than pair-fed controls. A greater alcohol-induced hypothermic effect was seen in females in the 35% EDC group than in controls. Treatment did not affect rate of metabolism of alcohol. These studies suggest that in utero administration of alcohol may be a factor in determining an individual's sensitivity and tolerance to alcohol and possibly their preference for alcohol.

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