The effects of pre- and post-natal nicotine exposure and genetic background on the striatum and behavioral phenotypes in the mouse

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Abstract

Maternal tobacco use increases the risk of complications in pregnancy and also the risk of adverse fetal outcomes. Studies have established nicotine as the principal component of tobacco smoke that leads to the majority of negative reproductive outcomes associated with maternal tobacco use. It appears the neuroteratogenicity of nicotine is mediated by complex gene-environment interactions. Genetic background contributes to individual differences in nicotine-related phenotypes. The aim of the current study was to investigate the interaction between pre- and post-natal nicotine exposure and genetic background on the histology of the striatum and behavioral measures using DBA/2J (D2) and C57BL/6J (B6) inbred mice. Alterations in neuronal cell populations, striatal brain volume, and behavior – open field (OF) activity, novel object recognition (NOR), elevated plus maze (EPM), and passive avoidance (PA) – were evaluated on post-natal day (PN) 24 and PN75. Histological data showed that pre- and post-natal nicotine exposure resulted in decreased striatal volume among preadolescent B6 and reduced neuronal number within the striatum of preadolescent B6 mice. Behavioral data showed that pre- and post-natal nicotine exposure promoted hyperactivity in D2 female mice and disrupted NOR and PA memory. Specifically, NOR deficits were significant amongst adult male mice whereas PA deficits were seen across genetic background and sex. These data suggest that nicotine treatment, genetic background, developmental stage, and sex effect striatal morphology can lead to neurobehavioral alterations.

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