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Effects of acute ethanol intoxication during pregnancy on central dopaminergic system in male rats

Neurotoxicology and Teratology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0892-0362(94)90027-2
  • Prenatal Ethanol
  • Amphetamine
  • Apomorphine
  • Behavior
  • Dopamine
  • 3–4-Dihydroxy-Phenylacetic Acid
  • Striatum
  • Nucleus Accumbens


Abstract Pregnant albino rats received 2 IP injections, spaced by 4 h, of either ethanol (2.9 g/kg in 24% v/v saline solution) or saline, on gestational day (GD) 8. During adulthood, male rats prenatally exposed to alcohol exhibited an increased stereotyped behavioral response to 12 mg/kg of amphetamine (AMPH) or 1 mg/kg of apomorphine (APO), whereas the stereotypy induced by 6 mg/kg of AMPH showed no difference between control and experimental animals. Also, the hypoactivity response elicited by small doses of APO was not significantly affected by the prenatal treatment with alcohol. Analysis of dopaminergic function in the striatum and nucleus accumbens demonstrated no change on dopamine (DA) levels in both structures in alcohol pre-exposed 55- and 180-day-old rats. A reduction in striatum 3–4 dihydroxyphenylacetic acid levels was observed at both ages. These results indicate that an acute intoxication with alcohol on GD 8 induces a long-lasting decrease in striatal but not in nucleus accumbens DA metabolism. As a consequence, a lower striatal DA release might produce a compensatory supersensivity of postsynaptic DA sites. This interpretation is consistent and correlates with behavioral results.

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