Enhanced Deficits in Long-Term Potentiation in the Adult Dentate Gyrus with 2(nd) Trimester Ethanol Consumption.

Department of Biology, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.53). 12/2012; 7(12):e51344. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051344
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Ethanol exposure during pregnancy can cause structural and functional changes in the brain that can impair cognitive capacity. The hippocampal formation, an area of the brain strongly linked with learning and memory, is particularly vulnerable to the teratogenic effects of ethanol. In the present experiments we sought to determine if the functional effects of developmental ethanol exposure could be linked to ethanol exposure during any single trimester-equivalent. Ethanol exposure during the 1(st) or 3(rd) trimester-equivalent produced only minor changes in synaptic plasticity in adult offspring. In contrast, ethanol exposure during the 2(nd) trimester equivalent resulted in a pronounced decrease in long-term potentiation, indicating that the timing of exposure influences the severity of the deficit. Together, the results from these experiments demonstrate long-lasting alterations in synaptic plasticity as the result of developmental ethanol exposure and dependent on the timing of exposure. Furthermore, these results allude to neural circuit malfunction within the hippocampal formation, perhaps relating to the learning and memory deficits observed in individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

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