• POSTNATAL ALCOHOL EXPOSURE INFLUENCES ADOLESCENT OLFACTORY RESPONSES TO THE DRUG

      Youngentob, Steven; Harrison, Danielle (2016)
      Human studies illustrate that alcohol exposure while breastfeeding produces a memory of the alcohol scent and modifies behavioral responses to the odor of the drug. The memory and modified behavioral response to alcohol odor suggest that the addictive attributes of alcohol may contribute to patterns of use that increases the risk for alcohol abuse later in life. There is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates prenatal alcohol exposure produces a memory and modified behavioral response to alcohol odor that persists into adolescence, and contributes to alcohol abuse. Given that both postnatal and prenatal alcohol exposure has lasting effects on infants, this study investigated whether rats exposed to alcohol while breastfeeding have a prolonged memory and modified behavioral response to alcohol odor. Long-Evans Hooded rat pups were exposed to alcohol during breastfeeding via the dams' liquid diet. Control animals received ad lib access to an isocaloric, iso-nutritive liquid diet after delivery of their litter up to weaning. To control for effects of malnutrition pair-fed animals were given a control liquid diet equivalent in quantity to the amount their matched animal provided with an alcohol diet consumed the day before. When litters reached adolescence, the behavioral and neurophysiological responses to alcohol odor in a male and female animal from each litter was examined. Relative to controls, animals exposed to alcohol postnatally displayed an altered breathing pattern response to alcohol odor specifically, and an altered breathing pattern and neurophysiological response to novel odorants. The findings of this study builds on the growing body of research that shows the consequences of postnatal alcohol exposure.