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The effects of prenatal ethanol exposure and stress in adulthood on the endocrine and immune systems in rats

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Title: The effects of prenatal ethanol exposure and stress in adulthood on the endocrine and immune systems in rats
Author: Gabriel, Kara Irene
Degree Master of Arts - MA
Program Psychology
Copyright Date: 1995
Abstract: The two studies in this thesis were undertaken to examine the possible interactive effects of prenatal ethanol exposure and exposure to chronic stress in adulthood on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA), hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) and immune measures. Male and female offspring from prenatal ethanol-exposed (E), pair-fed (PF) and ad libitum-fed control (C) conditions were exposed to varying lengths of a chronic intermittent stress regimen in adulthood. Animals were exposed daily to 2 of 6 different stressors, one each at random times in the morning and afternoon, with the same pair of stressors being repeated every 4 days. In the first study, following either 6 d or 18 d of chronic stress, CORT and ACTH levels, body weights, adrenal weights and gonadal weights as well as thymus and spleen cell counts were measured. In the second study, following 21 d of chronic stress, body weights and adrenal weights as well as splenic lymphocyte proliferative responses to three different mitogens (Con A , PWM, LPS) were assessed. The data demonstrate that although E, PF and C animals did not significantly differ in pituitary-adrenal activity, body and organ weights, or immune cell counts, there were effects of prenatal ethanol exposure of lymphocyte proliferative responses to Con A and PWM in males and to PWM in females. In addition, there were nutritionally-mediated effects of ethanol and effects of pair-feeding on lymphocyte proliferative responses in females The chronic stress regimen used in these studies produced effects on CORT and ACTH levels, body and organ weights as well as immune cell counts in males. For females, chronic stress affected immune cell counts in the first study and lymphocyte proliferative responses to mitogens in the second study. Together, these findings indicate that, although exposure to chronic intermittent stress in adulthood may have marked effects on the endocrine and immune systems in adulthood, specific effects on the immune system of E animals may only become apparent when these animals are exposed to chronic stress. In addition, male and female offspring are differentially affected by prenatal ethanol exposure and exposure to chronic stress in adulthood.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/4048
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]

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