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Low Dose Prenatal Ethanol Exposure Induces Anxiety-Like Behaviour and Alters Dendritic Morphology in the Basolateral Amygdala of Rat Offspring

Citation

Cullen, CL and Burne, THJ and Lavidis, NA and Moritz, KM, Low Dose Prenatal Ethanol Exposure Induces Anxiety-Like Behaviour and Alters Dendritic Morphology in the Basolateral Amygdala of Rat Offspring, PL o S One, 8, (1) Article e54924. ISSN 1932-6203 (2013) [Refereed Article]


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Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic (CC BY 2.5) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054924

Abstract

Prenatal exposure to high levels of alcohol is strongly associated with poor cognitive outcomes particularly in relation to learning and memory. It is also becoming more evident that anxiety disorders and anxiety-like behaviour can be associated with prenatal alcohol exposure. This study used a rat model to determine if prenatal exposure to a relatively small amount of alcohol would result in anxiety-like behaviour and to determine if this was associated with morphological changes in the basolateral amygdala. Pregnant Sprague Dawley rats were fed a liquid diet containing either no alcohol (Control) or 6% (vol/vol) ethanol (EtOH) throughout gestation. Male and Female offspring underwent behavioural testing at 8 months (Adult) or 15 months (Aged) of age. Rats were perfusion fixed and brains were collected at the end of behavioural testing for morphological analysis of pyramidal neuron number and dendritic morphology within the basolateral amygdala. EtOH exposed offspring displayed anxiety-like behaviour in the elevated plus maze, holeboard and emergence tests. Although sexually dimorphic behaviour was apparent, sex did not impact anxiety-like behaviour induced by prenatal alcohol exposure. This increase in anxiety - like behaviour could not be attributed to a change in pyramidal cell number within the BLA but rather was associated with an increase in dendritic spines along the apical dendrite which is indicative of an increase in synaptic connectivity and activity within these neurons. This study is the first to link increases in anxiety like behaviour to structural changes within the basolateral amygdala in a model of prenatal ethanol exposure. In addition, this study has shown that exposure to even a relatively small amount of alcohol during development leads to long term alterations in anxiety-like behaviour.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:prenatal alcohol, ethanol, anxiety, basolateral amygdala
Research Division:Medical and Health Sciences
Research Group:Neurosciences
Research Field:Central Nervous System
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions)
Objective Field:Nervous System and Disorders
Author:Cullen, CL (Dr Carlie Cullen)
ID Code:95909
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:27
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2014-10-10
Last Modified:2017-11-06
Downloads:303 View Download Statistics

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