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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine

, 4:4

First Online: 12 February 2004Received: 21 October 2003Accepted: 12 February 2004


BackgroundUsing a rat model we have found that the bioflavonoid silymarin SY ameliorates some of the negative consequences of in utero exposure to ethanol EtOH. In the current study our aim was to determine if spatial working memory SWM was impaired in offspring whose mothers were maintained on a liquid diet containing EtOH during different gestational weeks. We also determined if SWM was altered with a concomitant administration of SY with EtOH during specific gestational weeks.

MethodsWe provided pregnant Fischer-344 rats with liquid diets containing 35% EtOH derived calories EDC during specific weeks of the gestational period. A silymarin-phospholipid compound containing 29.8% silybin co-administered with EtOH was also administered during specific weeks of the gestational period. We tested SWM of the offspring with a radial arm maze on postnatal day PND 60. After testing the rats were sacrificed and their brains perfused for later analysis.

ResultsWe observed SWM deficits, as well as a significantly lower brain weight in female offspring born of mothers treated with EtOH during the third week of gestation in comparison to mothers treated during either the first or second weeks of gestation. Rats from any group receiving EtOH in co-administration with SY showed no significant deficits in SWM.

ConclusionEtOH treatment during the last week of gestation had the greatest impact on SWM. The addition of SY to the EtOH liquid diet appeared to ameliorate the EtOH-induced learning deficits.

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Autor: Steven Neese - Linda La Grange - Elisharose Trujillo - David Romero


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