Previous studies on male rodents found that prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) decreases the number of serotonin immunoreactive (5-HT-ir) neurons in the brainstem. However, data on the effects of PAE in females are lacking. In light of known sex differences in responsiveness of the 5-HT system and known effects of estrogen (E2) and progesterone (P4) in the brain, we hypothesized that sex steroids will modulate the adverse effects of PAE on 5-HT neurons in adult females.
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