This study was designed to investigate the effects of prenatal exposure to amphetamine in the organization of the medial prefrontal cortex of the rat, by an evaluation of growth, morphometric and neurochemical parameters. Pregnant Wistar rats were given 10 mg/kg body weight/day of D-amphetamine sulfate, subcutaneously, from gestational days 8 to 22. Control groups of pregnant rats were injected with saline, pair-fed or non-manipulated; litters were culled to eight pups (four males and four females), weighed every other day until postnatal day 30 and every week until day 90. The Gompertz model was used to study body weight evolution and the estimated growth parameters were not significantly different in the experimental groups. At postnatal days 14 and 30, the volumes of the prefrontal cortex, the fraction of neuropile occupied by neurons and the number of neurons per unit surface area were determined. The number of neurons per unit volume of reference area was calculated using the stereological technique of the dissector. For neurochemical analysis, the medial prefrontal cortex was dissected to measure the concentration of dopamine, serotonin and their metabolites. The allometric relationship of forebrain/body growth pointed to a mechanism of sparing and compensatory growth in the amphetamine exposed group. The changes found in the number of neurons per unit volume at postnatal day 14 show a catch-up at postnatal day 30. A decrease in serotonin levels was found in the amphetamine group compared with the pair-fed control, which was reflected in the ratio of serotonin to its metabolite, 5-hydroxyindolacetic acid. These changes, whether permanent or transitory, raise the possibility that some of the effects of prenatal exposure to amphetamine may be due to modifications in the neurotransmitter levels of serotonin.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 1996|
- Prefrontal cortex