Development of the brain, including the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, continues through adolescence. Chronic nicotine exposure during adolescence may contribute to long-term deficits in forebrain-dependent learning. It is unclear if these deficits emerge immediately after exposure and if they can be ameliorated. In this study, C57BL/6J mice were treated with chronic nicotine (6.3 or 12.6 mg/kg/day) over 12 days beginning at adolescence, postnatal day (PND) 38, or adulthood, PND 56–63 ± 3. We investigated the effects of short-term (24 h) abstinence on trace fear conditioning and found that adult treatment resulted in deficits (6.3 and 12.6 mg/kg/day), but adolescent chronic nicotine treatment had no effect. In contrast, adolescent treatment with chronic nicotine (12.6 mg/kg/day) elicited a long-term (30 days) learning deficit, but adult chronic nicotine treatment did not. Using the elevated plus maze (EPM) we found no long-term changes in anxiety-related behavior after chronic nicotine exposure at either time-point. We investigated if chronic fluoxetine (FLX) could ameliorate adolescent chronic nicotine-associated long-term deficits in trace conditioning. We found that chronic FLX (160 mg/L) in drinking water ameliorated the long-term deficit in trace fear conditioning associated with nicotine exposure during adolescence. Additionally, in the same animals, we examined changes in total BDNF protein in the dorsal hippocampus (DH), ventral hippocampus (VH), and prefrontal cortex (PFC). Chronic FLX increased DH BDNF. Our data indicate nicotine administration during adolescence leads to late onset, long-lasting deficits in hippocampus-dependent learning that chronic FLX treatment ameliorate.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience