, Volume 66, Issue 1, pp 35–39 | Cite as

Growth and behavioural effects of ethyl alcohol on the offspring of mice; a comparison with its short-term actions

  • Margaret G. Cutler
  • Franzeska G. Ewart
  • John H. Mackintosh
Original Investigations


Ten percent ethyl alcohol as drinking fluid of breeding mice did not affect gestation period, litter size or litter weight. Alcohol was secreted in milk, and weight gain up to weaning was reduced in offspring of treated mice, males having significantly reduced weights at 3–4 weeks.

When weaned at 21 days, treated offspring were given 10% alcohol to drink. Intake amounted to 31 mg/g body weight each day on average. Ethological analysis of behaviour occurring in encounters between alcohol-treated and control mice of the same sex showed that exploration and scanning were increased in duration in treated mice of both sexes and were increased in frequency in treated females. The frequency of self-grooming was reduced in treated mice of both sexes and scratching in treated males.

Ethyl alcohol (10%) as drinking fluid for 5 days to 21 day old mice procuced different behavioural effects. In treated males the social elements, ‘investigate’, ‘sniff’ and ‘follow’ were increased in frequency during encounters and ‘digging’ was reduced. Treated females showed no change in social behaviour. Weight gain was reduced in treated males.

Key words

Ethanol Mouse offspring Growth Behaviour 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret G. Cutler
    • 1
    • 2
  • Franzeska G. Ewart
    • 1
    • 2
  • John H. Mackintosh
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesGlasgow College of TechnologyGlasgowU.K
  2. 2.Sub-Department of EthologyThe Medical SchoolBirminghamU.K.

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