Fetal alcohol-exposed (FAE) rats exhibit heightened hormonal and behavioral stress responses, strikingly similar to those caused by exposure to elevated maternal corticosterone (CORT). Since alcohol increases maternal CORT, this study examined the effect of maternal adrenalectomy (ADX) on the CORT stress response and forced swim test (FST) behavior of the adult FAE offspring. Maternal ADX alone dramatically enhanced the CORT stress response of the offspring of pair-fed (PF) mothers but had no effect on the exaggerated CORT response to restraint stress observed in the FAE female. In contrast, maternal ADX reversed the increased immobility of FAE offspring in the FST of depressive behavior. These findings provide original evidence that stress hyper-reactivity and depressive behavior in the FAE offspring are mediated by separate developmental mechanisms.
- Fetal alcohol exposure
- Forced swim test
- Maternal adrenalectomy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience