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Low dose prenatal alcohol exposure does not impair spatial learning and memory in two tests in adult and aged rats


Cullen, CL and Burne, THJ and Lavidis, NA and Moritz, KM, Low dose prenatal alcohol exposure does not impair spatial learning and memory in two tests in adult and aged rats, PL o S One, 9, (6) Article e101482. ISSN 1932-6203 (2014) [Refereed Article]

PDF (Cullen et al., 2013_FASD learning & memory)

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Copyright 2014 The Authors-this article has been distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, (CC BY 4.0) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101482


Consumption of alcohol during pregnancy can have detrimental impacts on the developing hippocampus, which can lead to deficits in learning and memory function. Although high levels of alcohol exposure can lead to severe deficits, there is a lack of research examining the effects of low levels of exposure. This study used a rat model to determine if prenatal exposure to chronic low dose ethanol would result in deficits in learning and memory performance and if this was associated with morphological changes within the hippocampus. Sprague Dawley rats were fed a liquid diet containing 6% (vol/vol) ethanol (EtOH) or an isocaloric control diet throughout gestation. Male and Female offspring underwent behavioural testing at 8 (Adult) or 15 months (Aged) of age. Brains from these animals were collected for stereological analysis of pyramidal neuron number and dendritic morphology within the CA1 and CA3 regions of the dorsal hippocampus. Prenatal ethanol exposed animals did not differ in spatial learning or memory performance in the Morris water maze or Y maze tasks compared to Control offspring. There was no effect of prenatal ethanol exposure on pyramidal cell number or density within the dorsal hippocampus. Overall, this study indicates that chronic low dose prenatal ethanol exposure in this model does not have long term detrimental effects on pyramidal cells within the dorsal hippocampus or impair spatial learning and memory performance.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Ethanol, Fetal alcohol exposure, Learning, Memory, Behaviour, Rat
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Neurosciences
Research Field:Central nervous system
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Cullen, CL (Dr Carlie Cullen)
ID Code:95910
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:21
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2014-10-10
Last Modified:2017-11-06
Downloads:342 View Download Statistics

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