Dissociation between startle and prepulse inhibition in rats exposed to γ radiation at day 15 of embryogeny

M. Mintz, G. Yovel, A. Gigi, M. S. Myslobodsky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The role of prenatal trauma in disordered sensory gating was explored in albino rats of the Sprague-Dawley strain. Pregnant rata were exposed to 1.5 Gy (0.15 Gy/min) of the whole-body γ radiation on days 15, 17, or 19 of gestation. Controls were sham-exposed during 10 min in the same conditions. Exposed and control offsprings were evaluated for the auditory startle response (ASR) and its gating by either the habituation process or by the preceding weak sensory stimulus in the prepulse inhibition of startle (PPI) procedure. The tests were conducted when the animals reached 27 and 57 days of age. A noticeable hyperresponding and delayed habituation of startle were found in rats exposed at E15, with meager effects in rata exposed at E17 and E19. Maximal deficit was obtained on tests conducted on P57 but not on P27. However, in rats pretreated with amphetamine, dysfunctional startle was unmasked already on the P27 test. By contrast, PPI was insensitive to the damaging effect of prenatal irradiation at either period. This dissociation is reminiscent of one observed in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-296
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1998


FundersFunder number
Theodore and Vada Stanley Foundation


    • Amphetamine
    • Habituation
    • PTSD
    • Postnatal
    • Prenatal
    • Prepulse inhibition
    • Radiation
    • Rats
    • Startle
    • Stress


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