Author(s): Landon J, Davison M, Krgeloh CU, Thompson NM, Miles JL,
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Abstract Intrauterine growth restriction can lead to significant long-term health consequences such as metabolic and cardiovascular disorders, but less is known about its effects on choice and behavioral adaptation in later life. Virgin Wistar rats were time mated and randomly assigned to receive either ad-libitum access to chow or 30\% of that level of nutrition during pregnancy to generate growth-restricted offspring. At 60 days of age, 6 female offspring from each group were trained on concurrent variable-interval schedules. Sessions consisted of seven randomly arranged concurrent-schedule components, each with a different reinforcer ratio that varied from 27:1 to 1:27, and each component lasting for 10 reinforcer deliveries. Behavioral change across reinforcers in components, measured by sensitivity to reinforcement, was consistently lower for offspring of undernourished mothers, showing that their behavior was less adaptable to environmental change. These results provide direct experimental evidence for a link between prenatal environmental conditions and reduced behavioral adaptability--learning--in later life.
This article was published in Learn Behav
and referenced in Brain Disorders & Therapy