Preliminary indications that functional effects of fetal caffeine exposure can be expressed in a second generation

Christopher M. Sinton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Caffeine, added to the drinking water of males used for impregnation and gestant BALB/c mice such that their daily caffeine intake was 60 mg/kg, modified the passive avoidance behavior of the offspring when tested as adults. Caffeine-treated and control mice of the F1 generation were then cross-mated. The F2 generation was not exposed to caffeine but, when tested as adults, there were significant differences in passive avoidance latencies among the F2 mice. These data are a preliminary indication that effects resulting from fetal caffeine exposure in the F1 mice can be expressed in a second generation. Some cross-fostered groups of mice were tested in both the F1 and F2 generations as an initial control for postnatal maternal effects. F1 caffeine-treated mice also carried significantly smaller litters, implying that prenatal caffeine exposure could have affected the reproductive ability of these mice. It is tentatively concluded that a changed uterine environment, possibly interacting with an effect on the germ line, may be reflected in neurobehavioral effects in the second generation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-362
Number of pages6
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989


  • BALB/c mice
  • Behavioral teratogenesis
  • Caffeine
  • F1 generation
  • F2 generation
  • Passive avoidance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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