Prenatal restraint stress differentially modifies basal and stimulated dopamine and noradrenaline release in the nucleus accumbens shell: an ‘in vivo’ microdialysis study in adolescent and young adult rats

Authors


Dr E. Carboni, 1Department of Toxicology, as above.
E-mail: ecarboni@unica.it

Abstract

Gestational stress [prenatal stress (PNS)] has been associated with low birth weight, preterm delivery, and higher vulnerability to psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, depression or attention deficit with hyperactivity disorder. The alteration of catecholamine transmission has been attributed a major role in the etiology of psychiatric disturbances. We investigated the effect of PNS on basal and stimulated dopamine and noradrenaline output in the nucleus accumbens of freely moving adolescent and young adult rats (30–35 and 60–70 postnatal days respectively) because of the importance of this area in drug dependence and possibly in psychiatric disorders that are treated with drugs that act on dopamine and noradrenaline transmission. Stimulation was obtained with intraperitoneal amphetamine (0.25 mg/kg) or subcutaneous nicotine (0.4 mg/kg). The results showed the following: (i) basal and amphetamine-stimulated dopamine output in adolescent and adult PNS rats is higher than in controls; (ii) nicotine-stimulated dopamine output is lower than in controls in adolescent but not in adult PNS rats; (iii) basal noradrenaline output is lower than in controls in adolescent but not in adult PNS rats; (iv) amphetamine-stimulated noradrenaline output is higher than in controls in adult but not in adolescent PNS rats; (v) nicotine-stimulated noradrenaline output in PNS rats is higher than in controls, although only in adults. These results show that PNS may produce a complex change in accumbal dopamine and noradrenaline transmission. We discuss the possibility that these changes might be correlated with the development of psychiatric disorders or with an increased vulnerability to drug addiction.

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