Critical periods for the effects of alcohol exposure on learning in rats.

Cronise K, Marino MD, Tran TD, Kelly SJ
Behav Neurosci. 2001 115 (1): 138-45

PMID: 11256437 · DOI:10.1037/0735-7044.115.1.138

Critical periods for alcohol-induced deficits in spatial navigation and passive avoidance learning were investigated with a rat model of fetal alcohol syndrome. Rats were exposed to alcohol prenatally (Gestational Days 1-10 or 11-22) or postnatally (Postnatal Days 2-10) or throughout all 3 periods. Offspring were tested in either a spatial navigation or an avoidance task as juveniles or adults. As juveniles, the combined exposure group took longer to learn the spatial navigation task compared with all other groups. This effect was not seen in adults. Passive avoidance performance was not affected. These results suggest that long-term exposure to alcohol during development has adverse effects on spatial learning. The lack of differences in the short-term exposure groups implies that there may not be 1 critical period of alcohol exposure, but that the adverse effects of alcohol during development may be cumulative on some behaviors.

MeSH Terms (12)

Age Factors Animals Behavior, Animal Critical Period, Psychological Ethanol Female Male Maze Learning Rats Rats, Long-Evans Sex Factors Spatial Behavior

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