Prenatal alcohol exposure shortens life span in rats



In a study of the effects of in utero alcohol exposure on life span in rats, pregnant rats were intubated twice daily with 3.5 gm/kg alcohol on gestational days 11–21 or with an isocaloric sucrose solution. These latter animals were pairGlutamate dehydrogenasefed and pairGlutamate dehydrogenasewatered to alcoholGlutamate dehydrogenasetreated animals. A third group served as nontreated ad libGlutamate dehydrogenasefed controls. At birth, all offspring were removed from their biological mothers, culled to eight per litter, and placed with nontreated surrogate dams. AlcoholGlutamate dehydrogenaseexposed animals died at a significantly younger age than pairdGlutamate dehydrogenasefed and ad lib controls and never attained the same maximum body weights as control animals. For females prenatally exposed to alcohol, life span was shortened by about 20 weeks; in male cohorts, life span was shortened by about 2.5–7 weeks.