Neonatal ethanol exposure impairs incidental spatial learning in the juvenile rat: effects of exposure scenario
Westbrook, Sara Ruth
University of Delaware
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) are conditions with cognitive and behavioral impairments stemming from exposure to alcohol during pregnancy. Exposure during the brain growth spurt has detrimental effects on cognition including spatial memory (Dokovna, Jablonski, & Stanton, 2013; Jablonski & Stanton, 2014; Goodlett & Johnson, 1997; Goodlett & Pearson, 1995; Murawski & Stanton, 2010, 2011). A rat model of FASDs with third trimester-equivalent binge-like alcohol exposure was tested on an incidental spatial learning task, object location recognition. Limited exposure from postnatal (PD) 7-9 resulted in no impairment in the object location recognition task (Experiment 1). A wider exposure window (PD4-9) resulted in deficits in object location recognition after both a short and long delay (Experiment 2). Different ethanol exposure windows may target different brain areas and/or processes underlying spatial incidental learning tasks.