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Longitudinal Effects of Embryonic Exposure to Cocaine on Morphology, Cardiovascular Physiology, and Behavior in Zebrafish

Biology Department, University of North Dakota, 10 Cornell Street, Grand Forks, ND 58202, USA
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Juliette Legler
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(6), 847;
Received: 14 March 2016 / Revised: 30 April 2016 / Accepted: 25 May 2016 / Published: 31 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Zebrafish: A Model for Toxicological Research)
A sizeable portion of the societal drain from cocaine abuse results from the complications of in utero drug exposure. Because of challenges in using humans and mammalian model organisms as test subjects, much debate remains about the impact of in utero cocaine exposure. Zebrafish offer a number of advantages as a model in longitudinal toxicology studies and are quite sensitive physiologically and behaviorally to cocaine. In this study, we have used zebrafish to model the effects of embryonic pre-exposure to cocaine on development and on subsequent cardiovascular physiology and cocaine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP) in longitudinal adults. Larval fish showed a progressive decrease in telencephalic size with increased doses of cocaine. These treated larvae also showed a dose dependent response in heart rate that persisted 24 h after drug cessation. Embryonic cocaine exposure had little effect on overall health of longitudinal adults, but subtle changes in cardiovascular physiology were seen including decreased sensitivity to isoproterenol and increased sensitivity to cocaine. These longitudinal adult fish also showed an embryonic dose-dependent change in CPP behavior, suggesting an increased sensitivity. These studies clearly show that pre-exposure during embryonic development affects subsequent cocaine sensitivity in longitudinal adults. View Full-Text
Keywords: cocaine; zebrafish; cardiovascular physiology; and behavior cocaine; zebrafish; cardiovascular physiology; and behavior
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Mersereau, E.J.; Boyle, C.A.; Poitra, S.; Espinoza, A.; Seiler, J.; Longie, R.; Delvo, L.; Szarkowski, M.; Maliske, J.; Chalmers, S.; Darland, D.C.; Darland, T. Longitudinal Effects of Embryonic Exposure to Cocaine on Morphology, Cardiovascular Physiology, and Behavior in Zebrafish. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17, 847.

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