Behavioral characterization of adult male and female rhesus monkeys exposed to cocaine throughout gestation
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In utero cocaine exposure has been associated with alterations in the dopamine (DA) system in monkeys. However, the behavioral outcomes of prenatal cocaine exposure in adulthood are poorly understood.
To assess several behavioral measures in 14-year-old rhesus monkeys exposed to cocaine in utero and controls (n = 10 per group).
Materials and methods
For these studies, two unconditioned behavioral tasks, novel object reactivity and locomotor activity, and two conditioned behavioral tasks, response extinction and delay discounting, were examined. In addition, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples were analyzed for concentrations of the monoamine metabolites homovanillic acid (HVA) and 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid (5-HIAA).
No differences in CSF concentrations of 5-HIAA and HVA, latencies to touch a novel object or locomotor activity measures were observed between groups or sexes. However, prenatally cocaine-exposed monkeys required a significantly greater number of sessions to reach criteria for extinction of food-reinforced behavior than control monkeys. On the delay-discounting task, male prenatally cocaine-exposed monkeys switched preference from the larger reinforcer to the smaller one at shorter delay values than male control monkeys; no differences were observed in females.
These findings suggest that prenatal cocaine exposure results in long-term neurobehavioral deficits that are influenced by sex of the individual.
KeywordsAnimal model Dopamine Drug abuse Serotonin Sex differences Prenatal cocaine Impulsivity Delay discounting Rhesus monkey
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