Project description:The present set of experiments investigated the effects of a moderate dose of ethanol (2 g/kg; 20% v/v intragastrically) during late gestation (G17-20 [gestational day]) on ethanol-induced conditioned taste aversion (CTA) in adolescence, and on ethanol consumption during adolescence and early adulthood. In experiment 1, male and female Sprague-Dawley rats were given 30-min access to a sweetened "supersaccharin" (SS) solution or sodium chloride (NaCl), followed by an intraperitoneal injection of 20% ethanol (0, 1, 1.25, or 1.5 g/kg) for three conditioning/test sessions. Among animals conditioned with SS, prenatally ethanol-exposed males exhibited attenuated ethanol-induced CTA relative to males prenatally gavaged with water or non-manipulated, whereas prenatal treatment had no effect on CTA in females. Among animals conditioned with NaCl, there were no exposure group differences in males, with modest evidence for attenuated CTA in prenatally ethanol-exposed females. In experiment 2, the effects of prenatal ethanol exposure on ethanol consumption in adolescents (P35 ± 1 day [postnatal day]) and adults (P56-60) were explored. At the beginning of the dark cycle, pair-housed rats were given three bottles containing 0, 5, and 10% ethanol for 18 h every other day (i.e., Monday, Wednesday, Friday) for 3 weeks. Relative to water controls, adult males prenatally exposed to ethanol showed greater preference and more intake (g/kg) of 5% ethanol, while showing lower intake of 10% ethanol. These intake and preference differences were not evident in adolescent males. Among females at both ages, ethanol-exposed animals showed lower preference and intake (g/kg) of 5% ethanol than their water-exposed controls. Thus, moderate ethanol exposure during late gestation produced a largely male-specific attenuation in the aversive effects of ethanol during adolescence that could contribute to later increases in preference and intake of a 5% ethanol solution, although this emergent effect was not evident in adolescence (or in females), but only manifested in adulthood.
Project description:House mice (Mus musculus) emit ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs), which are surprisingly complex and have features of bird song, but their functions are not well understood. Previous studies have reported mixed evidence on whether there are sex differences in USV emission, though vocalization rate or other features may depend upon whether potential receivers are of the same or opposite sex. We recorded the USVs of wild-derived adult house mice (F1 of wild-caught Mus musculus musculus), and we compared the vocalizations of males and females in response to a stimulus mouse of the same- or opposite-sex. To detect and quantify vocalizations, we used an algorithm that automatically detects USVs (Automatic Mouse Ultrasound Detector or A-MUD). We found high individual variation in USV emission rates (4 to 2083 elements/10 min trial) and a skewed distribution, with most mice (60%) emitting few (?50) elements. We found no differences in the rates of calling between the sexes overall, but mice of both sexes emitted vocalizations at a higher rate and higher frequencies during opposite- compared to same-sex interactions. We also observed a trend toward higher amplitudes by males when presented with a male compared to a female stimulus. Our results suggest that mice modulate the rate and frequency of vocalizations depending upon the sex of potential receivers.
Project description:Maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy results in a spectrum of lifelong behavioral and cognitive deficits collectively known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). FASD is a major health burden in most societies, there is no cure, and the molecular mechanism involved in its development is poorly understood. Human neurodevelopment is a continuum that extends over two decades after birth, with the potential to influence outcomes both prenatally and postnatally. Here, we experimentally investigate if positive postnatal environment enrichment ameliorates behavioral deficits caused by ethanol exposure. Furthermore, we assessed if this modulation is associated with alterations in hippocampal gene expression. To accomplish this, we used a binge model of ethanol exposure followed by environmental enrichment in C57BL/6 mice to generate four groups of animals: (1) control mice raised in standard conditions, (2) mice raised in enriched environments, (3) ethanol-exposed mice raised in standard conditions, and (4) ethanol-exposed mice raised in enriched environments. The environmental enrichment includes larger home cages with more individuals for social interaction, regular exposure to novel items, and access to running wheels. Ethanol exposure results in anxiety-like behavior (light-dark box) as well as learning and memory deficits (Barnes maze) that are at least partially ameliorated by enrichment. Environmental enrichment also improves performance for individuals not exposed to ethanol. Ethanol exposure induces changes in adult hippocampal gene expression (RNA-Seq). Some of the changes in adult hippocampal gene expression following ethanol exposure are reversed by environmental enrichment. The results offer a potential mechanism of behavioral deficits caused by ethanol exposure, including the potential for amelioration after an FASD diagnosis. Overall design: Hippocampal RNA profiles of adult mice that had been prenatally exposed to alcohol and/or postnatal environmental enrichment as well as non-exposed controls were generated by sequencing, using Illumina HiSeq.
Project description:Exposure to ethanol (EtOH) in utero alters the disposition of tangentially migrating GABAergic interneurons in the fetal brain. The medial ganglionic eminence (MGE) gives rise to a large portion of cortical GABAergic interneurons, including the parvalbumin-expressing interneurons that shape and contribute to inhibitory/excitatory (I/E) balance of the intracortical circuit. Here, we investigated in the mouse medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) the hypothesis that low levels of maternal EtOH consumption from closure of the neural tube embryonic day (E) 9.5 until birth result in an enduring interneuronopathy.Pregnant mice were subjected to a 2% w/w EtOH consumption regimen starting at neural tube closure and ending at parturition. Neurogenesis in the MGE was assessed by 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU) immunofluorescence at E12.5. The count and distribution of parvalbumin-expressing interneurons were determined in adult animals, and patch clamp electrophysiology was performed to determine GABAergic function and I/E balance. Open-field behavior in adult mice was assessed to determine whether the EtOH-exposed cohort displayed a lasting alteration in exploratory behavior.In embryos exposed to EtOH in utero, we found increased BrdU labeling in the MGE, pointing to increased neurogenesis. Adult mice prenatally exposed to EtOH were hyperactive, and this was associated with an increase in parvalbumin-expressing GABAergic interneurons in the mPFC. In addition, prenatal EtOH exposure altered the balance between spontaneous inhibitory and excitatory synaptic input and attenuated GABAergic tone in layer V mPFC pyramidal neurons in juvenile mice.These findings underscore that altered migration of GABAergic interneurons contributes to the EtOH-induced aberration of cortical development and that these effects persist into adulthood as altered cortical form and function.
Project description:Ethanol consumption and smoking during pregnancy are common, despite the known adverse effects on the fetus. The teratogenicity of each drug independently is well established; however, the effects of concurrent exposure to ethanol and nicotine in preclinical models remain unclear. This study examined the impact of simultaneous prenatal exposure to both ethanol and nicotine on offspring ethanol preference behaviors and oxytocin system dynamics. Rat dams were given liquid diet (17% ethanol derived calories (EDC)) on gestational day (GD) 5 and 35% EDC from GD 6-20 and concurrently an osmotic minipump delivered nicotine (3-6mg/kg/day) from GD 4-postpartum day 10. Offspring were tested for ethanol preference during adolescence (postnatal day (PND) 30-43) and again at adulthood (PND 60-73), followed by assays for oxytocin mRNA expression and receptor binding in relevant brain regions. Prenatal exposure decreased ethanol preference in males during adolescence, and decreased consumption and preference in females during adulthood compared to controls. Oxytocin receptor binding in the nucleus accumbens and hippocampus was increased in adult prenatally exposed males only. Prenatal exposure to these drugs sex-specifically decreased ethanol preference behavior in offspring unlike reports for either drug separately. The possible role of oxytocin in reduction of ethanol consumption behavior is highlighted.