Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Woodruff, Arnold Bond, 1920-||Bell, Robert Wayne, 1931-

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Drugs--Physiological effect; Pregnancy


Recently, a great deal of research has been concerned with the investigation of the factors which interrelate prenatal development with postnatal development. However, since such investigations have not explained the precise nature of the relationship, this study was an attempt to make a contribution in this direction. It is now well known that in several species, the fetus is susceptible to a variety of conditions administered to the mother during pregnancy. Since these data suggest that neurohumoral changes during a pregnant mother's emotional state affects the development of the fetus, it was speculated that being the placenta permeable to substances released during emotional stress, the embryonic structures developing at the time such substances are released will be more readily affected. Since it has been determined that in the fetal rat the gastrointestinal tract develops during the latter part of the first semester of pregnancy and furthermore since adrenalin and d-amphetamine injections can adequately produce the features of pregnancy stress, it was decided to investigate the effects of maternal injections of these drugs during pregnancy upon ulcer acquisition in rats. Because of the rapidity of effect, and the ease with which it can be employed an immobilization technique was chosen for the production of ulcers. It was hypothesized that offspring from first semester drug injected mothers will acquire more ulcers when subjected to stress than second semester drug injected offspring, and that when compared to water groups, drug offspring would acquire more ulcers regardless of semester. Weight and emotionality, measured by the open-field apparatus, were included as parameters in the design. The experimental treatment began on the 45th day of birth for each of the 179 offspring and the design varied the parameters of type of drug and time of gestation during which the drugs were administered. An emotionality score as measured by the number of squares crossed during two minutes in the open-field apparatus was obtained for each rat. Following this, each rat was immobilized with adhesive tape for a period of 48 hours during which he was deprived of both food and water. The tape was then removed, and after a five minute recovery period the rat was again placed in the open-field for two minutes. On the basis of the scores in the first trial in the open- field (the highest and lowest scores from each litter) 72 rats were sacrificed. An incision was made, the stomach and duodenum was removed and the ulcers counted. The results indicated that (1) drugs did not differentially affect offspring weight (2) both drugs produced more ulcers, adrenalin producing the greater effect (3) drugs and first semester of injection are more critical to ulcer acquisition (4) ulcers may be accompanied by sharp emotional changes (5) adrenalin increases predisposition to ulcers, while amphetamine seems to increase emotionality levels. This study further suggests that any consideration of adult behavior should seriously take into account prenatal factors.


Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.||Pagination skips numbers 26 and 27; 2 pages labeled 29.


viii, 62 pages




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