Emerging Effects of Gestational and Early Postnatal Nicotine Exposure on Neurobehavioral Development in the rat

12:00 pm - 12:00 pm
Alfond Room 304
Biddeford Campus
Amy K. Eppolito, Ph.D.

Free and open to the public

Despite the known adverse health effects of cigarette smoking and risks to fetal development, roughly 17% of women in the United States continue to smoke throughout their pregnancies. Smoking during pregnancy has been associated with a number of negative outcomes for the offspring including low birth weight, increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, behavior disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, and an increased likelihood for addiction. There is considerable evidence that nicotine, the addictive substance in cigarettes, contributes to these adverse outcomes. Rats exposed to nicotine during the developmental equivalency of human gestation showed age-dependent changes on measures of physiological development, anxiety-like behavior, and expression of cholinergic receptor subunit mRNA. Results from these studies suggest that prenatal exposure to nicotine might have life-long consequences. Furthermore, prenatal nicotine exposure alters the developmental trajectory of the nervous system such that these behavioral and neurochemical changes persist long after drug exposure has ended. The potential for nicotine to exert a life-long impact on the nervous system highlights the importance of targeting anti-smoking campaigns and smoking cessation programs to women of reproductive age. 

Lunch will be provided
Hosted by: Dr. Michael Burman


Alfond Room 304
United States