Hyperactivity, increased nicotine consumption and impaired performance in the five-choice serial reaction time task in adolescent rats prenatally exposed to nicotine
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Prenatal exposure to nicotine has been linked to accelerated risk for different psychiatric disorders, including conduct disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and drug abuse. We examine a potential link between prenatal nicotine exposure, hyperactivity, anxiety, nicotine consumption, and cognitive performance in rats.
Adolescent offspring of females exposed during pregnancy to 0.06 mg/ml nicotine solution as the only source of water and of a group of pair-fed females, used as a control for anorexic effects of nicotine, were evaluated in a battery of tests, including locomotor activity, the elevated plus maze, two-bottle free-choice nicotine solution consumption, the five-choice serial reaction time test (5-CSRTT) and a delay-discounting test. All tests were conducted between postnatal day (PND) 25 and PND 50.
Nicotine-exposed animals expressed hyperactivity, increased number of open arms entries in the elevated plus maze and increased numbers of anticipatory responses in the 5-CSRTT. Decreased aversion for nicotine solution in the free-choice test and decreased numbers of omission errors in the 5-CSRTT were observed both in nicotine-exposed and pair-fed offspring. Neither nicotine exposure nor pair-feeding had an effect on impulsive choice in a delay-discounting test.
Our study confirms deleterious effects of prenatal nicotine exposure on important aspects of behaviour and inhibitory control in adolescent rats and supports epidemiological findings that show increased levels of symptoms of ADHD and related disorders among those whose mothers smoked during their pregnancy. It also suggests a link between food restriction during pregnancy and addiction-related behaviours in offspring.
KeywordsNicotine Gestation Hyperactivity Impulsivity Adolescence ADHD
The research was supported by a grant from the Wellcome Trust (079314).
Conflict of interest
Philip JE Asherson has received funding for his work on advisory boards, consultancy or industry-sponsored educational activities from Janssen-Cilag, Eli-Lilly, Shire and Flynn Pharma. Ian P Stolerman has received compensation in the past 3 years for professional services to Elsevier Science Publishers, Springer-Verlag and the US National Institute on Drug Abuse. The other authors declare no conflict of interest.
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