Neurodevelopmental Timing of Ethanol Exposure May Contribute to Observed Heterogeneity of Behavioral Deficits in a Mouse Model of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)


Maternal drinking during pregnancy can result in a wide spectrum of cognitive and behavioral abnormalities termed fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). The heterogeneity observed in FASD-related phenotypes can be attributed to a number of environmental and genetic factors; however, ethanol dose and timing of exposure may have significant influences. Here, we report the behavioral effects of acute, binge-like ethanol exposure at three neurodevelopmental times corresponding to the first, second, and third trimester of human development in C57BL/6J mice. Results show that developmental ethanol exposure consistently delays the development of basic motor skill reflexes and coordination as well as impairs spatial learning and memory. Observed changes in activity and anxiety-related behaviors, however, appear to be dependent on timing of alcohol exposure. The variability in behaviors between different treatment models suggests that these may be useful in evaluating the mechanisms disrupted by ethanol at specific neurodevelopmental times. The results provide further evidence that, regardless of developmental stage, the developing brain is acutely sensitive to alcohol exposure.

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K. Mantha, M. Kleiber and S. Singh, "Neurodevelopmental Timing of Ethanol Exposure May Contribute to Observed Heterogeneity of Behavioral Deficits in a Mouse Model of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)," Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science, Vol. 3 No. 1, 2013, pp. 85-99. doi: 10.4236/jbbs.2013.31009.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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