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Neuroscience. 2016 Jan 28;313:174-83. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2015.11.041. Epub 2015 Nov 24.

Adolescent exposure to cocaine increases anxiety-like behavior and induces morphologic and neurochemical changes in the hippocampus of adult rats.

Author information

1
Department of Human Anatomy, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China.
2
Department of Pharmacology, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China.
3
Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
4
Department of Human Anatomy, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China. Electronic address: guanxw918@njmu.edu.cn.

Abstract

Repeated exposure to cocaine during adolescence may affect both physical and psychological conditions in the brain, and increase the risk of psychiatric disorders and addiction behaviors in adulthood. Adolescence represents a critical development period for the hippocampus. Moreover, different regions of the hippocampus are involved in different functions. Dorsal hippocampus (dHP) has been implicated in learning and memory, whereas ventral hippocampus (vHP) plays an important role in emotional processing. In this study, the rats that were exposed to cocaine during adolescence (postnatal days, P28-P42) showed higher anxiety-like behavior in the elevated plus maze test in adulthood (P80), but displayed normal spatial learning and memory in the Morris water maze test. Furthermore, repeated exposure to cocaine during adolescence lead to alterations in morphology of pyramidal neurons, activities of astrocytes, and levels of proteins that involved in synaptic transmission, apoptosis, inflammation and addiction in both dHP and vHP of adult rats. These findings suggest that repeated exposure to cocaine during adolescence in rats may elicit morphologic and neurochemical changes in the hippocampus when the animals reach adulthood. These changes may contribute to the increased susceptibility for psychiatric disorders and addiction seen in adults.

KEYWORDS:

adolescent exposure; anxiety-like behavior; changes in adulthood; cocaine; dorsal hippocampus; ventral hippocampus

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