The effect of maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy as well as the neonatal period on allometric growth of skeletal muscles of fore and himdlimbs was studied in 252 rats (126 males and 126 females). At the inception of the study the dams of alcohol-exposed groups received 10% ethanol (v/v) in water for 2 weeks and 20% ethanol (v/v) for another 3 weeks. They were then bred overnight by introducing 1 male per 4 females into the cage. Following diagnosis of pregnancy, the two alcohol-exposed groups received 30% ethanol (v/v) till delivery. Neonatally the pre- and postnatal alcohol-exposed group continued to receive alcohol till weaning at 21 days of age. The offspring randomly selected (7 males and 7 females) from each group were killed at 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 14 weeks of age. The body weights, muscle weights and percentage of body weights contributed by each muscle were significantly smaller in the offspring of the alcohol-exposed groups as compared to the controls. These parameters were significantly higher in the group exposed to alcohol only prenatally as compared to those exposed both pre- and postnatally up to the 7th week of age, and thereafter were similar in the subsequent weeks. Although the alcohol-exposed groups grew faster than the controls from 9 to 14 weeks of age, they were, however, not able to catch up. This demonstrated that allometric growth of muscles of fetal and neonatal rats was adversely affected by maternal consumption of alcohol during pregnancy and neonatally.
Cells Tissues Organs 02/1999; 164(3):167-73. DOI:10.1159/000016654