The proposed experiments will continue to assess consequences of early exposure to ethanol for responsiveness to ethanol later in development. In view of epidemiological evidence for relatively frequent exposure to ethanol among human infants as well as fetuses, and clinical evidence that prenatal exposure to ethanol in humans predicts ethanol abuse in adolescence and early adulthood, the proposed experiments are relevant to issues of adolescent initiation to ethanol as well as more proximal consequences of early ethanol exposure. Three circumstances of early ethanol exposure to be studied are in the form of three specific aims: (1) To examine consequences of fetal processing of ethanol's chemosensory attributes and those of a learned association between them and ethanol's pharmacological effects; (2) To determine consequences of postnatal nursing experience involving ethanol for subsequent responsiveness to ethanol's chemosensory attributes, sensitivity to ethanol's postabsorptive effects and self-administration of ethanol; (3) To assess longitudinally the interactive consequences of prenatal and early postnatal exposure to ethanol for subsequent ethanol sensitivity and learning about ethanol during the preadolescent and adolescent periods. Experiments will apply techniques developed and previously employed in our laboratories, providing a combination of relatively new methods of treatment and assessment with methods used for many years. The experiments will include systematic assessment of: fetal associative learning supported by the reinforcing effects of ethanol during prenatal ethanol exposure and the consequences for postnatal responsiveness to ethanol; the consequences of ethanol exposure during nursing for later responsiveness to ethanol, novel environments and motor challenges; and conditioned and unconditioned effects of combined ethanol exposure as a fetus and as a nursing infant on later learning about ethanol, acceptance of ethanol and response to socially induced acceptance of ethanol. Theoretical orientation for considering the consequences of early ethanol exposure is focused on learning induced by that exposure and motivational content of related early memories. Special concern is given to specific temporal windows following ethanol exposure that yield memories of specific motivational associates, and the effect of multiple, potentially interactive exposures to ethanol for later patterns of ethanol recognition and acceptance ? ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
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Alcohol and Toxicology Subcommittee 4 (ALTX)
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Witt, Ellen
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State University of NY, Binghamton
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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