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J Psychiatr Res. 2013 Jun;47(6):740-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2013.02.001. Epub 2013 Mar 6.

Chronic exposure to cigarette smoke during gestation results in altered cholinesterase enzyme activity and behavioral deficits in adult rat offspring: potential relevance to schizophrenia.

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  • 1Laboratório de Neurociências, Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia Translacional em Medicina (INCT-TM), and Núcleo de Excelência em Neurociências Aplicadas de Santa Catarina (NENASC), Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências da Saúde, Unidade Acadêmica de Ciências da Saúde, Universidade do Extremo Sul Catarinense, 88806-000 Criciúma, SC, Brazil.


Prenatal cigarette smoke exposure (PCSE) has been associated with physiological and developmental changes that may be related to an increased risk for childhood and adult neuropsychiatric diseases. The present study investigated locomotor activity and cholinesterase enzyme activity in rats, following PCSE and/or ketamine treatment in adulthood. Pregnant female Wistar rats were exposed to 12 commercially filtered cigarettes per day for a period of 28 days. We evaluated motor activity and cholinesterase activity in the brain and serum of adult male offspring that were administered acute subanesthetic doses of ketamine (5, 15 and 25 mg/kg), which serves as an animal model of schizophrenia. To determine locomotor activity, we used the open field test. Cholinesterase activity was assessed by hydrolysis monitored spectrophotometrically. Our results show that both PCSE and ketamine treatment in the adult offspring induced increase of locomotor activity. Additionally, it was observed increase of acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase activity in the brain and serum, respectively. We demonstrated that animals exposed to cigarettes in the prenatal period had increased the risk for psychotic symptoms in adulthood. This also occurs in a dose-dependent manner. These changes provoke molecular events that are not completely understood and may result in abnormal behavioral responses found in neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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