Prenatal cocaine produces deficits in serotonin mediated neuroendocrine responses in adult rat progeny: Evidence for long‐term functional alterations in brain serotonin pathways

Theresa M. Cabrera, Joseph M. Yracheta, Qian Li, Andrew D. Levy, Louis D. Van De Kar, George Battaglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Cocaine produces biochemical alterations in brain serotonin (5‐HT) neurons. Since 5‐HT is critical to the development of fetal 5‐HT neurons and target tissues, we hypothesized that in utero exposure to cocaine could result in long‐term alterations in postnatal 5‐HT systems. Pregnant Sprague‐Dawley rats were administered either saline or (−)cocaine (15 mg/kg, s.c., b.i.d.) from gestational day 13 to 20. Prenatal cocaine exposure did not alter litter size, gender number, or progeny birth weights. Functional alterations in serotonergic systems were determined in postnatal day (PD) 70 male progeny by measuring changes in 5‐HT mediated plasma hormones following a single 8 mg/kg injection of the 5‐HT releaser p‐chloroamphetamine (PCA). Cocaine exposed male progeny exhibited significant reductions in adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH, −43%) and renin (−62%) responses to PCA. However, no alterations were observed in the corticosterone or prolactin response to PCA. In utero exposure to cocaine did not alter basal levels of ACTH, renin, corticosterone, or prolactin. There were no significant differences in the density of either hypothalamic or cortical 5‐HT uptake sites. Likewise, there were no significant differences in the densities of any of the 5‐HT1 receptor subtypes or in the density of 5‐HT2 receptors in cortex. These data, which provide the first demonstration of deficits in 5‐HT mediated neuroendocrine function in adult progeny following in utero exposure to cocaine, indicate long‐term functional alterations of brain 5‐HT systems. © 1993 Wiley‐Liss, INe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-168
Number of pages11
JournalSynapse
Volume15
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1993
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • ACTH
  • Corticosterone
  • Prolactin
  • Renin
  • Serotonin receptors
  • p‐Chloroamphetamine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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