Prenatal ethanol exposure in rats does not alter maze exploration or impair visual discrimination with or without distracting stimuli.
The effects of in utero exposure to ethanol on maze exploration and visual discrimination and reversal with and without distracting tactile stimuli present were examined in rats. Three groups were compared on all measures. An ethanol treated group was the offspring of dams receiving a liquid diet throughout pregnancy with 35% of the calories supplied as ethanol. Subjects in a pair-fed group were the offspring of dams fed the same diet except that the caloric equivalent of maltose-dextrin was substituted for the ethanol. Subjects in a third group were the offspring of dams fed ad lib lab chow and water throughout pregnancy. All pups were nursed by foster mothers who received ad lib lab chow and water throughout pregnancy and nursing. Relative to the control groups, the ethanol treated group was not found to be significantly more active in the maze at 41-45 days of age or deficient in visual discrimination or reversal with or without the distracting stimuli present at 46-77 days of age. These results are consistent with many studies suggesting that behavioral deficits resulting from in utero ethanol exposure become less evident with age.
Means, LW; Russ, RD; Medlin, CW; Gray, SL
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