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Physiol Behav. 2007 May 16;91(1):154-60. Epub 2007 Feb 27.

Acute paternal alcohol use affects offspring development and adult behavior.

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Division of Social Sciences 600 E. 4th St., University of Minnesota, Morris, Morris, MN 56267, United States.


Swiss Webster pups were fathered by sires given either an acute dose of alcohol (alcohol-sired) or saline (saline-sired) 12-24 h before mating. The same sires were used to father both groups of pups. Alcohol-sired pups were significantly lighter at birth and for the following three weeks than were saline-sired pups. Significantly more pups were fathered by saline-exposed sires, and dams carrying those pups had significantly longer gestations than those carrying pups of alcohol-using sires. More runts were born to the alcohol-sired group, and more pups in that group died over the next three weeks than in the saline-sired group. Significantly more pups in the saline-sired group achieved such developmental milestones as surface righting, clinging, the tail-pull reflex, rotation, linear movement and climbing an inclined surface earlier than did alcohol-sired pups. As adults, animals from the alcohol-sired group showed significantly less risk assessment behavior and longer latencies to such behaviors as stretched attention, flatback, freezing and defensive burying than did the saline-sired animals. Alcohol-sired animals contacted the stimulus object in the risk assessment test significantly sooner and more often than did the saline-sired group. In tests of aggression, alcohol-sired male offspring showed more frequent aggressive behaviors such as on-top, lateral attacks and jump-attacks, and significantly fewer defensive/fearful behaviors such as piloerection, tail rattling and jump-escape. This pattern of results suggests that exposure of the sire to one acute dose of alcohol before insemination caused some early developmental delays and that alcohol-sired animals are less fearful and more aggressive as adults than saline-sired animals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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