Author(s): Nation JR, Miller DK, Bratton GR
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Abstract The aim of this study was to examine the effects of perinatal lead exposure on locomotor responding following acute and repeated cocaine challenges (sensitization). Adult female rats were gavaged daily with 0, 8, or 16 mg lead acetate for 30 days prior to breeding. This exposure regimen was maintained throughout gestation and lactation (perinatal exposure). On Day 21, male pups were weaned and lead exposure was discontinued for the remainder of the study. Beginning on postnatal day (PND) 30 or PND 90, and continuing for 14 successive days, separate groups of perinatally-exposed animals were presented with challenges of 10 mg/kg cocaine HCl (i.p.), and tested for locomotor responding. Following this testing period, dose-effect profiles were determined, with animals receiving daily injections of 0, 10, 20, and 40 mg/kg cocaine. The results indicated that both at PND 30 and PND 90 lead-exposed animals were less responsive to the initial administration of cocaine, but exhibited a supersensitivity to the stimulatory effects associated with repeated administration of cocaine, i.e., behavioral sensitization to cocaine was augmented by perinatal lead exposure. Analyses of blood lead levels following the completion of testing revealed that lead levels were below detectable limits for all animals (< 1 microg/dl). Collectively, these findings show that developmental lead contamination produces changes in cocaine sensitivity long after exposure has been discontinued and the toxicant has gained clearance from blood.
This article was published in Neuropsychopharmacology
and referenced in Biology and Medicine