Hormonal Effects on Ontogeny of Swimming Ability in the Rat: Assessment of Central Nervous System Development

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Science  03 Apr 1970:
Vol. 168, Issue 3927, pp. 147-151
DOI: 10.1126/science.168.3927.147


The maturation of swimming behavior and the evoked cortical response to sciatic stimulation were studied in newborn rats receiving thyroxine or cortisol. Compared to that of controls the maturation of swimming is accelerated or delayed 2 to 3 days by thyroxine or cortisol treatment, respectively, and this corresponds to ontogenetic shifts in the characteristics of the evoked potential. Front leg movement during swimming normally diminishes at about 16 days of age and is inhibited by day 22. Thyroxine also advances and cortisol delays the age at which this inhibitory mechanism becomes evident, and compresses (thyroxine) or expands (cortisol) the time interval over which it becomes functional. During early postnatal life certain circuilating hormones can affect the rate and chronology of central nervous system maturation. Swimming behavior may be a simple model to use in studies concerned with factors affecting the functional and behavioral development of the central nervouts system.

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