Environmental enrichment and the behavioral effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol in rats

John H. Hannigan, Robert F Berman, Carol S. Zajac

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

78 Scopus citations

Abstract

Animals exposed prenatally to alcohol (4 g/kg/day) via maternal peroral intubation or control offspring were reared after weaning either alone in standard steel/wire cages or in groups of eight, for 6 weeks. Rats exposed prenatally to alcohol and reared in isolation had a dysmetric stride length indicative of an ataxic gait. However, following postweaning environmental enrichment, prenatal alcohol-exposed rats showed no evidence of ataxia. In addition, the prenatal alcohol-exposed rats showed the same magnitude of improved Morris maze performance after enrichment as did the control offspring. These preliminary results suggest that postnatal environment can influence the expression of alcohol-related birth defects in rats, that rats exposed prenatally to alcohol can benefit from the effects of enriched postweaning environment and that postnatal factors can attenuate some of the deficits due to prenatal alcohol exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-266
Number of pages6
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ataxia
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Gait
  • Learning
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Toxicology

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