Effects of Neonatal Ethanol Exposure on Saccharin Consumption

Susan Barron, L. Jill Razani, Roger A. Gallegos, Edward P. Riley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Prenatal ethanol exposure has been associated with alterations in a variety of sexually dimorphic behaviors in rats. This study examined the effects of neonatal ethanol exposure on saccharin consumption, a sexually dimorphic behavior in rats. Subjects were Sprague‐Dawley rats that were artificially reared (AR) from postnatal day (PN) 4‐PN12 through gastrostomy tubes with ethanol exposure limited to PN4‐PN10. The AR groups included two ethanol doses (6 g/kg/day and 4 g/kg/day) and an isocaloric maltose‐dextrin control. A sham surgery control group was also included. The AR subjects were returned to their dams on PN13. At 21 days of age, subjects were housed with one same‐sex sibling and free access to rat chow and water until testing. Subjects were tested for saccharin preference and consumption at 110 days of age. Typically, male rats consume less saccharin than females, and this was evident in the 4 g/kg ethanol group and both control groups. However, this was not apparent among the 6 g/kg ethanol‐exposed males. Furthermore, saccharin preference seemed to be reduced in the females exposed to 6 g/kg ethanol. These data suggest that the “sensitive period” for ethanol's effects on sex differences in saccharin consumption extends into postnatal life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-261
Number of pages5
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1995


  • Prenatal Ethanol Effects
  • Saccharin Preference
  • Sexual Differentiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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