Prenatal cocaine treatment produces equivocal effects on spatial learning and memory; however, no data are available on neonatal treatment as a model of human third-trimester exposure. Sprague-Dawley rats were treated on postnatal days (P) 1-10 or 11-20 with cocaine (15 mg/kg x 4 per day at 2-h intervals) or saline (P1-P20) and evaluated as adults in the Morris water maze and on tests of activity, startle, scent marking, swimming immobility, and sequential learning. Neonatal cocaine had no effect on mortality; however, early treatment reduced body weight, whereas later treatment did not. Neonatal cocaine had no effects on exploratory activity, swimming ability, sequential learning, multiday activity rhythms, scent marking, or swimming immobility, but augmented acoustic startle amplitude in the early-treated group. Neonatal cocaine also produced an interaction on spatial learning in which the cocaine early-treated males performed slightly more efficiently than controls. Plasma cocaine concentrations were significantly higher in the early-treated group than the later-treated group despite receiving the same weight-adjusted doses. It was concluded that neonatal cocaine, when administered during a stage of brain development analogous to human third trimester, induces few behavioral effects based on the assessments used in this study. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience