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Brain Sci. 2013, 3(3), 1076-1094; doi:10.3390/brainsci3031076
Article

Effects of Ethanol Exposure during Distinct Periods of Brain Development on Hippocampal Synaptic Plasticity

1,2
, 1
, 1,2
, 1,2
, 1
 and 1,2,3,4,*
1 Division of Medical Sciences, Island Medical Program, University of Victoria, Victoria, V8P 5C2, British Columbia, Canada 2 Department of Biology, University of Victoria, Victoria, V8P 5C2, British Columbia, Canada 3 Brain Research Centre and Program in Neuroscience, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, V6T 1Z4, British Columbia, Canada 4 Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, V6T 1Z4, British Columbia, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 May 2013 / Revised: 15 June 2013 / Accepted: 29 June 2013 / Published: 19 July 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethanol Neurotoxicity)
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Abstract

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders occur when a mother drinks during pregnancy and can greatly influence synaptic plasticity and cognition in the offspring. In this study we determined whether there are periods during brain development that are more susceptible to the effects of ethanol exposure on hippocampal synaptic plasticity. In particular, we evaluated how the ability to elicit long-term potentiation (LTP) in the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) was affected in young adult rats that were exposed to ethanol during either the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd trimester equivalent. As expected, the effects of ethanol on young adult DG LTP were less severe when exposure was limited to a particular trimester equivalent when compared to exposure throughout gestation. In males, ethanol exposure during the 1st, 2nd or 3rd trimester equivalent did not significantly reduce LTP in the DG. In females, ethanol exposure during either the 1st or 2nd trimester equivalents did not impact LTP in early adulthood, but following exposure during the 3rd trimester equivalent alone, LTP was significantly increased in the female DG. These results further exemplify the disparate effects between the ability to elicit LTP in the male and female brain following perinatal ethanol exposure (PNEE).
Keywords: dentate gyrus; ethanol; fetal alcohol spectrum disorders; fetal alcohol syndrome; hippocampus; long-term potentiation; synaptic plasticity; vulnerability period dentate gyrus; ethanol; fetal alcohol spectrum disorders; fetal alcohol syndrome; hippocampus; long-term potentiation; synaptic plasticity; vulnerability period
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Patten, A.R.; Gil-Mohapel, J.; Wortman, R.C.; Noonan, A.; Brocardo, P.S.; Christie, B.R. Effects of Ethanol Exposure during Distinct Periods of Brain Development on Hippocampal Synaptic Plasticity. Brain Sci. 2013, 3, 1076-1094.

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