Pup‐Induced Maternal Behavior in Adult and Juvenile Rats Exposed to Alcohol Prenatally

Susan Barron, Edward P. Riley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on pup‐induced maternal behaviors were examined in virgin rats whose mothers consumed liquid diets containing either 35 or 0% ethanol‐derived‐calories (EDC) on days6–20 of gestation. A pair‐feeding procedure was utilized to control for reduced caloric intake and, in addition, an ad libitum lab chow group was included to control for possible liquid diet effects. The results from experiments 1 and 2 revealed a sexually differential effect on this behavior in adult virgins exposed to alcohol in utero. Adult 35% EDC females showed a variety of deficits in maternal behaviors relative to controls; however, males with similar prenatal treatment appeared unaffected. In experiment 3, both 35% EDC male and female juveniles displayed altered maternal behaviors relative to controls. These results demonstrate yet another behavior sensitive to prenatal alcohol exposure. Prenatal hormonal alterations occurring as a consequence of maternal alcohol consumption may be a mechanism by which this long term behavioral effect is observed. This hypothesis and the importance of future research in this relatively new area of fetal alcohol studies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-365
Number of pages6
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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