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Exp Neurol. 1985 Jul;89(1):237-49.

Effect of moderate prenatal ethanol exposure on postnatal brain and behavioral development in BALB/c mice.


Prior research had indicated that moderate maternal ethanol consumption during gestation affected the growth of the corpus callosum and anterior commissure in BALB/c mice when measured at day 19 postconception. Our purpose was to assess whether or not this was an enduring effect. Pregnant BALB/cCRBL mice were fed ethanol 10% v/v in the drinking water from days 5 to 26 postconception. Control animals received an isocaloric sucrose solution and were pair-fed to the experimental animals. An additional control group fed laboratory chow ad libitum was included. Using a split-litter design, brain development was assessed on days 26 and 50 postconception and behavioral development of the pups was measured on day 32. The ethanol-treated offspring had lower brain weights at both ages as well as a smaller cross-sectional area of the anterior commissure on day 50, which was significantly related to the smaller brain weight. There was no apparent effect of ethanol on the area of the corpus callosum at either age. Similarly, behavioral development was not affected by the treatment, although eye-opening was delayed in ethanol-treated animals. Measures of maternal behavior indicated that the animals consuming alcohol were more active than those in the control groups. An unexpected finding was that the control group fed sucrose appeared to be adversely affected. The body weight of these pups was lower, as was the area of the corpus callosum at day 50.

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