Maternal high n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake during pregnancy increases voluntary alcohol intake and hypothalamic estrogen receptor alpha and beta levels among female offspring

Anna Cabanes, Sonia De Assis, Jan Ake Gustafsson, Leena Hilakivi-Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Identification of nongenetic biological factors that predispose to alcohol abuse is central to attempts to prevent alcoholism. Since an exposure to estradiol in utero increases voluntary alcohol intake in adulthood, we investigated whether an increase in pregnancy estradiol levels, caused by feeding pregnant mice a high-fat corn oil diet, also influences voluntary alcohol intake among female offspring. In addition, the effect on estrogen receptor α (ER-α) and ER-β protein levels in the brain using Western blot assay, was determined. Pregnant CD-1 mice were kept on a high n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA; 43% calories from corn oil) or low n-6 PUFA diet (16% calories from corn oil) throughout gestation, and switched to a Purina laboratory chow after the pups were born. When 4 months of age, the female offspring were given a choice between 5% alcohol and tap water. The offspring of high n-6 PUFA mothers voluntarily consumed more alcohol than the offspring of low n-6 PUFA mothers. ER-α and ER-β protein levels in the hypothalamus were 1.5- and 2-fold higher, respectively, in the female offspring of high n-6 PUFA mothers than in the low n-6 PUFA offspring. No significant changes in the protein levels of ER-α and ER-β were seen in the frontal brain. Our findings indicate that a maternal exposure to a high n-6 PUFA diet during pregnancy increases alcohol intake among female offspring. This behavioral change, together with previously observed increase in aggressiveness and reduction in depressive-like behavior in these offspring, may be linked to an increase in the hypothalamic ER-α and ER-β levels. Copyright (C) 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)488-493
Number of pages6
JournalDevelopmental Neuroscience
Volume22
Issue number5-6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Alcohol intake
  • Estradiol
  • Estrogen receptor α
  • Estrogen receptor β
  • High-fat diet

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