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Alcohol. 1998 Oct;16(3):237-42.

Neonatal alcohol exposure produces hyperactivity in high-alcohol-sensitive but not in low-alcohol-sensitive rats.

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Department of Neuropharmacology, Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA.


Children of women who consume high amounts of alcohol during their pregnancies vary greatly in physical and behavioral outcomes. Although many factors, such as dose and timing of exposure, undoubtedly contribute to this variation, one important determinant may be genetic differences in the response to alcohol. The present study examined activity levels in high alcohol sensitivity (HAS) and low alcohol sensitivity (LAS) rats following neonatal alcohol exposure. These lines were selectively bred for extremes in ethanol-induced "sleep times." The HAS and LAS offspring were exposed to alcohol via an artificial rearing procedure using the "pup-in-the-cup" technique. Rat pups were exposed to ethanol (6 g/kg/day) from postnatal day (PD) 4 through 7 and faded to a dose of 3 g/kg/day on PD 8 and 9. An artificially reared gastrostomy control group (GC) and a normally reared suckle control group (SC) were also included. Activity level was measured on PD 18 through PD 21 for 30 min daily in automated activity monitors. Neonatal ethanol exposure produced overactivity in HAS rats, relative to their controls, but the same ethanol treatment had no effect on the LAS rats. Importantly, there were no differences in blood alcohol concentrations (around 420 mg/dl) between the two lines during the treatment period. These data suggest that genetic differences in response to alcohol may be a predictor for some of the behavioral teratogenic effects of alcohol.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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