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Keywords:

  • mouse;
  • anxiety;
  • memory;
  • depression;
  • tail suspension;
  • elevated maze;
  • activity

Abstract

Despite the increased prevalence of cocaine use and abuse in males when compared with females, possible effects of paternal cocaine exposure on biobehavioral development have received little attention. We therefore exposed male mice to cocaine (20 mg/kg, i.p.) or vehicle for 10 weeks and then used those mice as sires. We then behaviorally phenotyped the F1 offspring to assess the consequences of paternal cocaine exposure on brain function. We report the presence of a subtle but significant increase in immobility in the tail suspension test, a measure of behavioral depression, following paternal cocaine. Body weight was also significantly decreased in paternal cocaine-exposed offspring. Other aspects of neurobehavioral function, including locomotor activity, anxiety, and learning and memory, were not affected by paternal cocaine history. These data suggest alterations in brain systems and/or circuitry underlying mood regulation in the offspring of cocaine-using fathers. Synapse 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.