Fetal nicotine exposure ablates the ability of postnatal nicotine challenge to release norepinephrine from rat brain regions.
Exposure of the fetus to nicotine is known to affect the function of noradrenergic pathways in the central nervous system. In the current study, synaptic mechanisms underlying the functional defects were evaluated in the offspring of pregnant rats given nicotine infusions of 2 mg/kg/day throughout gestation, administered by osmotic minipumps. At 30 days postpartum, norepinephrine levels in brain regions of the offspring were significantly reduced. More importantly, acute challenge with either 0.1 mg/kg or 0.3 mg/kg of nicotine evoked significant norepinephrine release from brain regions of control animals, but failed to do so in the fetal nicotine cohort. These results suggest that prenatal exposure to nicotine produces a deficit in subsequent noradrenergic responsiveness, deficits which may participate in behavioral and neuroendocrine abnormalities.
Seidler, FJ; Levin, ED; Lappi, SE; Slotkin, TA
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