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
Cite this paper
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