Neurotoxicity Research

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 267–279

Neurodevelopmental liabilities of substance abuse


  • Tomas Palomo
    • Servicio de PsiquiatriaHospital 12 de Octobre
  • Trevor Archer
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Góteborg
  • Richard J. Beninger
    • Departments of Psychology and PsychiatryQueen's University
    • Department of Pharmacology, Quillen College of MedicineEast Tennessee State University

DOI: 10.1080/1029842021000010857

Cite this article as:
Palomo, T., Archer, T., Beninger, R.J. et al. neurotox res (2002) 4: 267. doi:10.1080/1029842021000010857


The perinate is particularly risk-prone to chemical species which have the potential of inducing neuronal apoptosis or necrosis and thereby adversely altering development of the brain, to produce life-long functional and behavioral deficits. This paper is an overview for many substances of abuse, but the purview is much more broadened by the realization that even elevated levels of estrogens and corticosteroids in the pregnant mother can act as neuroteratogens, by passing via the placenta and altering neural development or inducing apoptosis in the perinate. Finally, therapeutic risks of anesthetics are highlighted, as these too induce neuronal apoptosis in the neonate by either blocking N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors or by acting as gamma-aminobutyric acid agonists. By understanding the mechanisms involved it may ultimately be possible to interrupt the mechanistic scheme and thereby prevent neuroteratological processes.



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© Springer 2002