Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Susan Barron


Exposure to ethanol (ETOH) during fetal development results in a range of cognitive/behavioral deficits. There are differences in sensitivity to the effects of ETOH that could be explained by other factors, such as hypoxia. Similar mechanisms of damage underlie both ETOH, more specifically ETOH withdrawal, and hypoxia. Based on this overlap, it was hypothesized that sub threshold levels of these insults may interact to produce increased damage in sensitive brain regions. This study used a rodent organotypic hippocampal slice culture model to investigate the interaction of hypoxia and ETOH withdrawal and to determine possible developmental differences in the sensitivity to these insults. The combination of ETOH and hypoxia produced greater damage in the CA1 and CA3 hippocampal regions, as measured by propidium iodide uptake. Differences in outcome were noted between on postnatal (PND) 2 and PND 8 tissue. ETOH alone caused damage as measured by the neuronal marker NeuN, suggesting the ETOH/hypoxia interaction involves different cell types and that caution should be taken when determining appropriate levels of exposure. This data could explain why some offspring appear more sensitive to ETOH and/or hypoxic challenges during early life.