Effect of cocaine in early gestation on striatal dopamine and neurotrophic activity

Debra E. Weese-Mayer*, Jean M. Silvestri, Donghui Lin, Colleen M. Buhrfiend, Erwin S. Lo, Paul M. Carvey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Prenatal exposure to the dopamine (DA) agonist cocaine, even if limited to early gestation, is associated with impaired developmental outcome in the human infant. We investigated the possible role of neurotrophic factors in this process by evaluating 4- to 6-d-old New Zealand White rabbit pups (n = 14) born to cocaine-exposed does (30 mg/kg/d s.c. from days 7 to 15 of a 32-d gestation) and control does (sterile H20). Cocaine exposure reduced striatal dopamine by 46% (r = 2.31; p < 0.05) and striatal 3,4-dihydroxyphenyl acetic acid by 49% (t = 2.44; p < 0.05). The number of neuron-specific enolase ininiu-noreactivc neurons in mesencephalic cultures incubated with striatal extracts from pups exposed to cocaine was reduced by 61% relative to the effect of striatal extracts from control pups (t = 4.84; p < 0.01). The present results suggest that the reduction in striatal dopamine observed may result from a cocaine-induced decrease in striatal trophic activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-392
Number of pages4
JournalPediatric research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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