Gender-related response in open-field activity following developmental nicotine exposure in rats
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Smoking during pregnancy may lead to low birthweight and behavioral alterations in the offspring. In this study, the effects of developmental nicotine exposure on the somatic growth of the offspring and the behavioral performance in the open-field test were examined. Sprague-Dawley female rats were implanted with nicotine (35 mg for 21-day time release; NIC 35) or placebo pellets on gestational day (GD) 8 (postblastocyst implantation). A normal control group with no pellet implant was also included. There was a significantly higher maternal weight gain in the placebo group possibly due to a larger litter size. However, there were no significant differences in body weights among all three treatment groups for male and female offspring. The amount of activity, measured by the total number of crossings in the open-field test, indicated a gender difference in baseline level and pattern of ambulatory activity, with less activity (lower number of crossings) in male offspring and an increase in the activity of the female offspring as a function of testing day. The increase in the ambulatory activity of the female offspring was observed in the placebo and normal, but not the NIC 35 group suggesting that developmental nicotine exposure interferes with open-field activity, and this behavioral alteration is gender related.
author list (cited authors)
Romero, R. D., & Chen, W.