Passive avoidance performance following neonatal alcohol exposure

Susan Barron, Edward P. Riley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Prenatal alcohol exposure has been associated with deficits in response inhibition in both human and nonhuman studies. In this study, we investigated the effects of neonatal alcohol exposure on passive avoidance, a task that requires response inhibition. Neonatal alcohol exposure has been used to examine the effects of alcohol during a period of CNS development that is equivalent to the human third trimester "brain growth spurt." Subjects were 23-day-old rats that were artificially reared (AR) from gestation day (GD) 26-32 through gastrostomy tubes. The AR groups included two ethanol doses; 6 g/kg and 4 g/kg and an isocaloric control. A sham surgery group was also included. Subjects were tested for acquisition and 24-hr retention of the passive avoidance task. The 6 g/kg females required more trials to reach the criterion during both acquisition and retention relative to all other groups. These findings suggest that neonatal alcohol exposure can produce deficits in response inhibition, but that there may be differential sensitivity across sexes to some of alcohol's effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-138
Number of pages4
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1990


  • Alcohol-related learning deficits
  • Passive avoidance
  • Prenatal alcohol exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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