Impact of early life stress on alcohol consumption and on the short- and long-term responses to alcohol in adolescent female rats

V. Van Waes, M. Darnaudéry, J. Marrocco, S. H. Gruber, E. Talavera, J. Mairesse, G. Van Camp, B. Casolla, F. Nicoletti, A. A. Mathé, S. Maccari, S. Morley-Fletcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined the interaction between early life stress and vulnerability to alcohol in female rats exposed to prenatal restraint stress (PRS rats). First we studied the impact of PRS on ethanol preference during adolescence. PRS slightly increased ethanol preference per se, but abolished the effect of social isolation on ethanol preference. We then studied the impact of PRS on short- and long-term responses to ethanol focusing on behavioral and neurochemical parameters related to depression/anxiety. PRS or unstressed adolescent female rats received 10% ethanol in the drinking water for 4 weeks from PND30 to PND60. At PND60, the immobility time in the forced-swim test did not differ between PRS and unstressed rats receiving water alone. Ethanol consumption had no effect in unstressed rats, but significantly reduced the immobility time in PRS rats. In contrast, a marked increase in the immobility time was seen after 5 weeks of ethanol withdrawal only in unstressed rats. Hippocampal levels of neuropeptide Y (NPY) and mGlu1a metabotropic glutamate receptors were increased at the end of ethanol treatment only in unstressed rats. Ethanol treatment had no effect on levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) in the hippocampus, striatum, and prefrontal cortex of both groups of rats. After ethanol withdrawal, hippocampal levels of mGlu1 receptors were higher in unstressed rats, but lower in PRS rats, whereas NPY and CRH levels were similar in the two groups of rats. These data indicate that early life stress has a strong impact on the vulnerability and responsiveness to ethanol consumption during adolescence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-49
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2011


  • Adolescence
  • CRH
  • Early life stress
  • Ethanol
  • MGlu1 receptors
  • NPY

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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