Early developmental exposure to benzodiazepine ligands alters brain levels of thiobarbituric acid-reactive products in young adult rats.
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Levels of thiobarbituric acid (TBA)-reactive material were measured in brain regions of 3-4 month-old rats following prenatal exposure to several benzodiazepine (BDZ) receptor ligands over gestational days 14-20. Prenatal exposure to diazepam (DZ) at 1.0 mg/kg/day markedly elevated levels of brain TBA-reactive material while exposure to a higher dose (2.5 mg/kg) induced a significant increase only in the hippocampus. Early exposure to the central-type BDZ agonist clonazepam as well as to the central-type antagonist Ro 15-1788 also increased brain levels of TBA-reactive material. Concurrent exposure to the higher dose of DZ partially attenuated the effect of Ro 15-1788. Prenatal exposure to the peripheral-type BDZ ligand PK11195 produced a profound increase in TBA-reactive products in all regions, and concurrent DZ exposure did not attenuate this effect, except in the basal ganglia. Measurement of TBA-reactive material from birth to 3 months indicated that the effect of prenatal exposure to DZ was not apparent until after 8 weeks of age. Acute in vitro exposure of adult and fetal tissue to DZ had no effect on TBA-reactive material. The results suggest an interference in the organization of cellular metabolism in the brain by developmental exposure to BDZ ligands.