Early postnatal treatment with propranolol affects development of brain amines and behavior

L. A. Hilakivi, T. Taira, I. Hilakivi, E. MacDonald, L. Tuomisto, K. Hellevuo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The present study examined the effects of early postnatal treatment with a beta-adrenoceptor antagonist propranolol (5 mg/kg IP daily) on concomitant and subsequent behavior and central aminergic transmission in rats. During propranolol exposure from the 7th to the 20th postnatal days sleep-wake recordings, carried out with the static charge sensitive bed (SCSB) method, showed a decrease in the percentage of active sleep and an increase in waking. When the animals were 1-3 months of age, the open field behavior was changed, immobility time in the Porsolt's swim test was lengthened, and voluntary alcohol consumption was increased in the propranolol-treated rats. Neither motor reactivity to auditory stimuli nor spontaneous alternation behavior was affected. At the age of 4 months concentrations of brain amines and their metabolites were measured from several brain regions. In the propranolol-treated rats the noradrenaline levels were increased in the limbic forebrain and cerebellum. The results suggest that in rats the exposure to propranolol during the rapid growth period of cerebral catecholamine systems, and the concomitant alterations in sleep are related to later changes in behavior and to increased noradrenaline content in the limbic forebrain and cerebellum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-359
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol drinking
  • Brain amines
  • Neonatal
  • Open field
  • Porsolt's swim test
  • Propranolol
  • Rat
  • Sleep
  • Spontaneous alternation
  • Startle reaction


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