Prenatal ethanol exposure enhances NMDAR-dependent long-term potentiation in the adolescent female dentate gyrus

Authors

  • Andrea K. Titterness,

    1. Graduate Program in Neuroscience, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    2. Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    3. Division of Medical Sciences, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
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  • Brian R. Christie

    Corresponding author
    1. Graduate Program in Neuroscience, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    2. Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
    3. Division of Medical Sciences, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
    4. Department of Biology, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada
    • Division of Medical Sciences, University of Victoria, 3800 Finnerty Road, Victoria, BC, Canada, V8P 5C2
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Abstract

The dentate gyrus (DG) is a region of the hippocampus intimately involved with learning and memory. Prenatal exposure to either stress or ethanol can reduce long-term potentiation (LTP) in the male hippocampus but there is little information on how these prenatal events affect LTP in the adolescent female hippocampus. Previous studies suggest that deleterious effects of PNEE can, in part, be mediated by corticosterone, suggesting that prenatal stress might further enhance any alterations to LTP induced PNEE. When animals were exposed to a combination of prenatal stress and PNEE distinct sex differences emerged. Exposure to ethanol throughout gestation significantly reduced DG LTP in adolescent males but enhanced LTP in adolescent females. Combined exposure to stress and ethanol in utero reduced the ethanol-induced enhancement of LTP in females. On the other hand, exposure to stress and ethanol in utero did not alter the ethanol-induced reduction of LTP in males. These results indicate that prenatal ethanol and prenatal stress produce sex-specific alterations in synaptic plasticity in the adolescent hippocampus. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., Inc.

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