Anxiety-like behavior is altered by pregnenolone in adulthood following adolescent intermittent ethanol exposure in male C57BL/6J mice

Student Classification


Faculty Mentor

Antoniette M. Maldonado-Devincci, Ph.D, Department of Psychology, College of Health and Human Sciences, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University


Department of Psychology

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-2021


We have previously shown that binge alcohol exposure during adolescence increases voluntary alcohol consumption in adulthood. The present experiment was designed to determine if administering pregnenolone (50 mg/kg) would reverse these effects in adulthood following binge alcohol exposure during adolescence using vapor inhalation exposure paradigm. We exposed adolescent C57BL/6J male mice to vapor adolescent intermittent ethanol exposure and measured intermittent voluntary ethanol intake in adulthood from using a two-bottle choice paradigm, followed by measuring open field, depressive-like behavior, and anxiety-like behavior. We expected pregnenolone to decrease a voluntary alcohol intake in adulthood in males in the alcohol-exposed mice. We observed that pregnenolone did not change voluntary alcohol consumption in males exposed to alcohol during adolescence compared to vehicle control. There were no differences between any groups in behavior in the open field test between alcohol-exposed and air-exposed mice in the open field test. There were no differences in depressive-like behavior. We did observe a trend (p = 0.07) for alcohol-exposed mice to bury fewer marbles in the marble-burying test compared to control mice. This may be a result of a more severe withdrawal period for control mice, which would increase withdrawal-induced anxiety-like behavior. The alcohol-exposed mice may have developed a tolerance following adolescent alcohol-exposure and alcohol drinking in adulthood, thus inducing less severe withdrawal. Our data indicate that adolescent intermittent alcohol exposure modestly alters anxiety-like behavior, but does not alter voluntary alcohol intake in female mice in adulthood. Funded by North Carolina A&T Division of Research and Economic Development (AMD), the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, National Institutes of Health, through Grant KL2TR002490(AMD).

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