The effects of postnatal maternal ethanol consumption and cross fostering in young mice



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Children of alcoholic parents and in foster care are at a greater risk of experiencing neglect and/or developing a mental illness later in life. The current research was to assess the effects of maternal ethanol use and cross-fostering on offspring stress behaviors and neurobiology in a mouse model. Five C57BL/6J female mice were used to breed in-house and randomly separated to one of four conditions: control, ethanol, control/cross-foster, and ethanol/cross-foster. This study replicated an intermittent two-bottle choice paradigm, one of water and the second of 10% ethanol and 5% sucrose solution, to simulate voluntary binge drinking in rodents. The offspring from each mother were tested using the Open Field Test (OFT), Elevated Zero Maze (EZM), Forced Swim Test (FST), and Activities of Daily Living (ADL) starting on PND 28 to measure anxiety and depression-like behaviors. Glucocorticoid receptors and corticosterone levels were analyzed after euthanasia. Trending effects of the ethanol/cross-foster group were found within all behavioral tests, displaying increased anxiety and depressive behaviors. Ethanol males had significantly lower corticosterone levels compared to other groups. This study assessed short-term effects on adolescent mice who experienced differing levels of early life stress.



early life stress, foster care