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Effect of maternal separation on ethanol drinking and acute stress: involvement of ethanol consumption during pregnancy

Locci, Valentina (2017) Effect of maternal separation on ethanol drinking and acute stress: involvement of ethanol consumption during pregnancy. Doctoral Thesis.

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It is known that stressful events during gestational and postnatal period are crucial for the development of psychopathologies in adulthood.
It is widely accepted that prenatal ethanol exposure during late pregnancy is one of the most consisted method that leads to alcohol abuse behavior in young and/or adults later in life.
In order to evaluate the interaction between prenatal ethanol exposure and early life stress, a group of pregnant rats (EtOH) was treated intra-gastrically with 1g/Kg of ethanol solution later in gestation from 17 to GD 20. The offspring were then subjected to daily maternal separation (MS) for 3hs from PND 3 until PND 15.
Since ethanol treatment and maternal separation stimulates the HPA axis response we evaluate whether the exposure to alcohol in this delicate perinatal could affect HPA axis response to acute foot-shock stress as well as maternal behavior, reflecting in the quality of maternal care. Our results show that the association of the two stressors (EtOH and MS) leads to a significant decrease in the CTS and AP plasma level. Furthermore, EtOH-MS group shows a greater acute foot-shockmediated increase of CTS and AP plasma levels compared to EtOH-NMS group. In agreement with this hormonal response, elevated plus maze test revealed anxiety-like behavior of the EtOH-MS group respect to EtOH-NMS counterpart. In addition, our data showed that prenatal ethanol treatment failed to induce changes in maternal care behavior.
One goal of our study was to establish whether the association of two stressors (prenatal ethanol treatment and early maternal separation) could lead to changes in alcohol consumption preference in adolescent and adult male offspring. We used the Ascending Ethanol Paradigm (Martinetti et al., 2006), that consist in giving ascending concentrations (from 0.01% to 20%) of ethanol both in adolescence and in adulthood.
Our data show that there are no differences among the four experimental groups in terms of preference toward ethanol consumption. However, the VEH-MS show a clear behavior preference toward 0.1-1% range of ethanol concentrations. Overall, these results suggest that stressful experiences during pregnancy and childhood may change the acute stress-responsiveness of HPA axis in adult rats. Furthermore, there is not evident interaction between pre and postnatal stress regarding the effect on drinking behavior. Furthermore, these animals probably came out from two closely stressful events differently from adults that have had much more time to recovery from each other. This could partially explain the lack of difference in ethanol consumption attitude. Further studies may help to better understand some molecular mechanisms underlying these observed differences between adult and adolescent offspring subjected to stress early in life.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis
ID Code:11616
Contributors:Biggio, Francesca
Publisher:Universita' degli studi di Sassari
Uncontrolled Keywords:Prenatal stress, ethanol, maternal separation
Subjects:Area 05 - Scienze biologiche > BIO/14 Farmacologia
Divisions:001 Università di Sassari > 01-a Nuovi Dipartimenti dal 2012 > Scienze Biomediche
Cicli, scuole e corsi:Ciclo 29 > Scienze biomediche > Neuroscienze
Deposited On:18 Sep 2017 13:51

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