1. The effects were studied of injecting pregnant Alderley Park mice with the benzodiazepine agonist chlordiazepoxide (CDP) at doses of 10 and 30 mg/kg during the last 9-10 days of gestation on the early behaviour and development of their offspring. 2. All neonates were fostered to non-treated lactating dams to eliminate maternally-mediated effects. 3. Early development and responses to anxiety-related situations were studied by recording body growth, righting reflex, rooting behaviour, cliff avoidance reflex and ultrasonic "distress" calling. 4. Drug treatment: (a) retarded postnatal body growth; (b) delayed the righting and cliff avoidance reflexes; (c) augmented rooting behaviour and (d) produced an overall increase in ultrasonic calling (but with the higher dose decreasing emission on days 1-2). 5. Exposure to CDP during foetal life retards motor development and physical maturation; produces a sedative/anxiolytic action (especially at high doses) and may modify the sensitivity of GABA-BZP receptor complex to endogenous receptor ligands.
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