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Life Sci. 1998;63(22):2015-22.

Gestational exposure to cocaine or pharmacologically related compounds: effects on behavior and striatal dopamine receptors.

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  • 1Division of Neurotoxicology, National Center for Toxicological Research, Jefferson, Arkansas 72079-9502, USA.


Gestational cocaine (COC) exposure has been reported to alter behavior and possibly dopamine (DA) receptors. In this paper, we further examined the effects of prenatal COC (40 mg/kg, s.c.) on DA receptor binding and the behavioral response to quinpirole, a DA D2 receptor agonist. In an attempt to elucidate possible mechanisms of such effects, we exposed pregnant dams to specific reuptake blockers; fluoxetine 12.5 mg/kg, a serotonin reuptake blocker; desipramine 10 mg/kg, a norepinephrine reuptake blocker; GBR-12909 10 mg/kg, a DA reuptake blocker; or to a local anesthetic, lidocaine 40 mg/kg. Drugs were administered once daily over gestational days 8-20. Control dams were injected with saline (SAL) or pair-fed to the COC group. Quinpirole challenge was performed in the offspring on post natal day 19. Two pups per litter were injected (s.c.) with 0.03 or 0.09 mg/kg quinpirole-HCl on post-natal day 19. The remaining pups in each litter were sacrificed for analysis of striatal DA receptors. Results showed that only COC exposure altered the behavioral response to the quinpirole challenge by increasing quinpirole-induced stereotypy and motor activity relative to SAL controls. DA receptor analysis showed no alteration in K(D) or B(MAX) for striatal D1 or D2 sites in any group. These results suggest that prenatal COC exposure produces alterations in function of the D2 receptor complex which are not reflected in K(D) or B(MAX) and that these effects are not fully mimicked by exposure to specific monoamine reuptake blockers or a local anesthetic.

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