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Teratology. 1993 Nov;48(5):421-30.

Changes in dopamine, serotonin and their metabolites in discrete brain areas of rat offspring after in utero exposure to cocaine or related drugs.

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Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville 27858.


The concentrations of dopamine (DA), serotonin (5HT) and their metabolites were quantified in 5 brain areas of rats exposed to saline, cocaine (15 mg/kg b.i.d.), amitriptyline (10 mg/kg), or amfonelic acid (AFA, 1.5 mg/kg) throughout gestation. Male pups from 3 similarly treated dams were fostered to 2 surrogate dams. The process of breeding and rearing was repeated 4 times with new dams to build the groups to 4-12, since only one pup per litter was used for any one measurement. AFA was used to mimic the dopamine (DA) uptake blockade and stimulant properties of cocaine and amitriptyline was used to mimic the other pharmacological effects of cocaine. At postnatal days (PND) 30, 60, and 180, one pup per litter was removed for HPLC analysis of monoamines. A second pup received 0.3 mg/kg haloperidol, catalepsy assessed after 1 hr, and the brain used for analysis. The cataleptic response to haloperidol was unaffected by any prenatal treatment. The striatum from PND 30 cocaine rats had decreased levels of DA without a decrease in DA metabolites. At PND 60 in cocaine exposed rats, DA and DOPAC concentrations were increased, and 5HT levels were decreased in the striatum. The amitriptyline-exposed group exhibited decreased 5HT and 5-HIAA levels in the striatum. The hypothalamus of the cocaine group had lower levels of 5-HIAA, and other brain areas had a trend for lower levels of 5HT and 5-HIAA. At PND 180, DOPAC was increased in the striatum and prefrontal cortex of the cocaine group. Haloperidol-induced altered monoamine metabolism was unaffected by any prenatal treatment at any age. These data suggest that age-related changes in the DA and 5HT neurotransmission systems occur in rats exposed prenatally to cocaine. However, the ability of the dopaminergic system to respond to a challenge by a DA receptor blocker is unaltered by these in utero treatments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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