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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Eyeblink classical conditioning and interpositus nucleus activity are disrupted in adult rats exposed to ethanol as neonates.

Neonatal exposure to ethanol in rats, during the period of brain development comparable to that of the human third trimester, produces significant, dose-dependent cell loss in the cerebellum and deficits in coordinated motor performance. These rats are also impaired in eyeblink conditioning as weanlings and as adults. The current study examined single-unit neural activity in the interpositus nucleus of the cerebellum in adults following neonatal binge ethanol exposure. Group Ethanol received alcohol doses of 5.25 g/kg/day on postnatal days 4-9. Group Sham Intubated underwent acute intragastric intubation on postnatal days 4-9 but did not receive any infusions. Group Unintubated Control (from separate litters) did not receive any intubations. When rats were 3-7 mo old, pairs of extracellular microelectrodes were implanted in the region of the interpositus nucleus. Beginning 1 wk later, the rats were given either 100 paired or 190 unpaired trials per day for 10 d followed by 4 d of 100 conditioned stimulus (CS)-alone trials per day. As in our previous study, conditioned response acquisition in Group Ethanol rats was impaired. In addition, by session 5 of paired acquisition, Group Sham Intubated and Group Unintubated Control showed significant increases in interpositus nucleus activity, relative to baseline, in the CS-unconditioned stimulus interval. In contrast, Group Ethanol failed to show significant changes in interpositus nucleus activity until later in training. These results indicate that the disruption in eyeblink conditioning after early exposure to ethanol is reflected in alterations in interpositus nucleus activity.[1]


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