Neonatal cocaine and/or ethanol exposure: Effects on a runway task with suckling reward

L. S. Hansen-Trench, T. M. Segar, S. Barron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This experiment employed a rodent model to examine the effects of neonatal exposure to cocaine, ethanol, or both drugs in combination on acquisition and extinction of an appetitive runway task. After implantation with an intragastric cannula, subjects were artificially reared (AR) from postnatal days (PND) 4-10. There were five treatment groups, including: cocaine (20 mg/kg/day), ethanol (4 g/kg/day), cocaine/ethanol (20 mg/kg/day cocaine and 4 g/kg/day ethanol), stock (an AR control), and sham (a suckled control). Subjects were tested on PND 13-14. The runway task consisted of traversing a runway for nonnutritive suckling on an anesthetized dam and a subsequent milk reward, given manually by the experimenter. Pups from all treatment groups acquired and extinguished the runway task; however, pups exposed to cocaine had longer latencies to leave the start box than controls. Pups exposed to cocaine or ethanol, but not cocaine/ethanol, were impaired on the nipple attachment measures compared to sham controls. These results provide further support that the 'third trimester' is a sensitive period for developmental drug exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-657
Number of pages7
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1996

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported, in part, by NIDA DA06049 to S.B. We would like to thank Steven Harrod for his technical assistance. We would also like to acknowledge Purina Protein Technologies for their kind donation of Purina protein and Becton Dickinson for their assistance with PE-IO tubing.


  • learning
  • neonatal exposure
  • prenatal cocaine exposure
  • prenatal ethanol exposure
  • suckling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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