We and others previously reported that paternal preconception chronic ethanol exposure leads to molecular, physiological, and behavioral changes in offspring including reduced ethanol consumption and preference relative to controls. The goal of the present study was to further explore the impact of paternal ethanol exposure on a wide variety of basal and drug-induced behavioral responses in first generation offspring. Adult male mice were exposed to chronic intermittent vapor ethanol or control conditions for 5–6 weeks before being mated with ethanol-naïve females to produce ethanol (E)- and control (C)-sired offspring. E-sired male offspring showed stress hyporesponsivity in a stress-induced hyperthermia assay and E-sired female offspring had reduced binge-like ethanol consumption in a drinking in the dark assay compared to C-sired offspring. E-sired offspring also showed altered sensitivity to a sedative/hypnotic dose of the GABAergic drug midazolam, but not ketamine or ethanol, in a loss of the righting response assay. E-sired offspring did not differ from controls in marble burying, novel object location, novel object recognition, social interaction, bottle-brush, novelty suppressed feeding, prepulse inhibition, every-other-day ethanol drinking, or home cage activity assays. This study adds to a growing body of literature suggesting that like in utero alcohol exposure, paternal preconception alcohol exposure can also have effects that persist and impact behavior of offspring.
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