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Neurotoxicol Teratol. 1991 Jan-Feb;13(1):69-74.

Long-term deficits in cerebellar growth and rotarod performance of rats following "binge-like" alcohol exposure during the neonatal brain growth spurt.

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Alcohol and Brain Research Laboratory, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242.


The cerebellum is vulnerable to growth restriction and neuronal depletion induced by alcohol exposure during the brain growth spurt of neonatal rats. This study examined whether neonatal alcohol exposure permanently restricted brain growth and induced motor performance deficits in adults. Two groups of rats were given 4.5 g/kg of alcohol per day during postnatal days 4 through 9, using artificial-rearing procedures. One group was given the alcohol as a 10.2% (v/v) solution in two of the 12 daily feedings, producing peak BACs of 361 mg/dl. The second group was given the alcohol as a 5.1% (v/v) solution in four of the feedings, producing peak BACs of 187 mg/dl. Controls included an artificially reared group and a normally reared group. All rats were tested on a rotarod at approximately 405 days of age, then perfused 1-2 weeks later. The 10.2% group was significantly impaired in acquiring the task and had significant reductions in whole brain and cerebellar weight, compared to controls. The 5.1% treatment also significantly restricted whole brain and cerebellar growth, and rotarod performance of that group was intermediate between the control groups and the 10.2% group. The cerebellar reductions and deficits in motor performance in adulthood demonstrate permanent structural and functional consequences of binge-like alcohol exposure during the brain growth spurt.

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