Experience-Induced Fetal Plasticity

The Effect of Gestational Ethanol Exposure on the Behavioral and Neurophysiologic Olfactory Response to Ethanol Odor in Early Postnatal and Adult Rats

Steven Youngentob, Paul F. Kent, Paul R. Sheehe, Juan C. Molina, Norman E. Spear, Lisa Youngentob

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Human fetal ethanol exposure is strongly associated with ethanol avidity during adolescence. Evidence that intrauterine olfactory experience influences chemosensory-guided postnatal behaviors suggests that an altered response to ethanol odor resulting from fetal exposure may contribute to later abuse risk. Using behavioral and neurophysiological methods, the authors tested whether ethanol exposure via the dam's diet resulted in an altered responsiveness to ethanol odor in infant and adult rats. Compared with controls, (a) fetal exposure tuned the neurophysiologic response of the olfactory epithelium to ethanol odor at some expense to its responsiveness to other odorants in infantile rats-this effect was absent in adults; (b) the neural effect in infantile rats was paralleled by an altered behavioral response to ethanol odor that was specific to this odorant-this effect was also absent in adults; and (c) a significant component of the infantile behavioral effect was attributable to ethanol's effect on the olfactory neural modality. These data provide evidence for an important relationship between prenatal ethanol experience and postnatal behavioral responsiveness to the drug that is modulated or determined by olfactory function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1293-1305
Number of pages13
JournalBehavioral Neuroscience
Volume121
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

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Ethanol
Odorants
Olfactory Mucosa
Diet
Pharmaceutical Preparations

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology

Cite this

Experience-Induced Fetal Plasticity : The Effect of Gestational Ethanol Exposure on the Behavioral and Neurophysiologic Olfactory Response to Ethanol Odor in Early Postnatal and Adult Rats. / Youngentob, Steven; Kent, Paul F.; Sheehe, Paul R.; Molina, Juan C.; Spear, Norman E.; Youngentob, Lisa.

In: Behavioral Neuroscience, Vol. 121, No. 6, 01.12.2007, p. 1293-1305.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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