Neurochemical, but not behavioral, deviations in the offspring of rats following prenatal or paternal inhalation exposure to ethanol

  • Nelson B
  • Brightwell W
  • MacKenzie-Taylor D
 et al. 
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In addition to its widespread social use, ethanol is used extensively as an industrial solvent. Inhalation exposures to ethanol which produce narcosis in maternal rats are not teratogenic. The present study sought to extend the previous research by including offspring from paternal exposures, and testing for behavioral disorders in the offspring following maternal or paternal exposures. Groups of 18 male (approximately 450 g) and 15 female (200-300 g) Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed 7 hours/day for six weeks or throughout gestation to 16000, 10000, or 0 ppm ethanol by inhalation and then mated with untreated rats. Litters were culled to 4 males and 4 females, and were fostered within 16 hours after birth to untreated dams which had delivered their litters within 48 hours previously. Offspring from paternally or maternally exposed animals performed as well as controls on days 10-90 in tests of neuromotor coordination (ascent on a wire mesh screen, rotorod), activity levels (open field, modified-automated open field, and running wheel), and learning ability (avoidance conditioning and operant conditioning). In addition, brains of 10 21-day-old pups were analyzed for neurochemical differences from controls in concentrations of protein and the neurotransmitters acetycholine, dopamine, norepinephrine, 5-hydroxytryptamine, substance P, Met-enkephalin, and β-endorphin. Levels of acetylcholine, dopamine, substance P, and β-endorphin were essentially unchanged in the offspring of rats exposed to ethanol. Complex, but significant changes in levels of norepinephrine occurred only in paternally exposed offspring. 5-Hydroxytryptamine levels were reduced in the cerebrum, and Met-enkephalin levels were increased in all brain regions of offspring from both maternally and paternally exposed rats. © 1988.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Alcohols
  • Behavioral teratology
  • Developmental neurotoxicology
  • Ethanol
  • Neurochemicals
  • Neurochemistry
  • Reproductive toxicology

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  • B. K. Nelson

  • W. S. Brightwell

  • D. R. MacKenzie-Taylor

  • J. R. Burg

  • V. J. Massari

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