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Congenit Anom (Kyoto). 2006 Dec;46(4):180-7.

Histological brain alterations following prenatal methamphetamine exposure in rats.

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Department of Anatomy and Developmental Neurobiology, Institute of Health Biosciences, The University of Tokushima Graduate School, 3-18-15 Kuramoto-cho, Tokushima 770-8503, Japan.


When pregnant women abuse methamphetamine, the foremost concern is the potential adverse effect of this substance on fetal development. Clinical studies in humans have found that exposure to methamphetamine during brain development can cause neurobehavioral abnormalities, such as aggressive behavior, learning problems, and poor social adaptation. In the present study, we examined the effects of prenatal methamphetamine exposure on brain development in rats. The first group of pregnant rats was administered methamphetamine at a dose of 5 mg/kg/day during gestational day (GD 10 to GD 20 [MA]. The second group of pregnant rats was injected with saline vehicle only [SAL]. On GD 21 their fetuses were removed and fetal brains were observed. We found various types of morphological damage in MA fetal brains, including microgyria, ectopia, and hemorrhage. In some cases, abnormal distribution of the leptomeninx, such as breach or accumulation, was observed in addition to these histological abnormalities. Therefore, we examined the expression of laminin, which is an important component of the pia mater, in the fetal brains. However, Western blot analysis revealed that there was no difference in expression amount of laminin in whole fetal brain between the MA and SAL groups. We concluded that methamphetamine use during pregnancy can cause histological brain alterations in fetuses. Morphological alterations of brain seen in the present study and previous human studies following prenatal exposure to methamphetamine might be related to the neurobehavioral abnormalities seen in patients who had been exposed to methamphetamine in utero.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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