Loss of nicotine-induced effects on locomotor activity in fetal alcohol-exposed rats

Neurotoxicol Teratol. 1999 Nov-Dec;21(6):647-52. doi: 10.1016/s0892-0362(99)00040-9.


Previous evidence from our laboratory showed that systemic injection of nicotine enhanced attention and memory in control rats, but not fetal alcohol-exposed (FAE) rats. The present study examined the effects of nicotine on two measures of locomotor activity in FAE rats. Subjects were 2-month-old male offspring of Sprague-Dawley rats fed a 35% ethanol-derived caloric diet, a pair-fed sucrose diet, or a chow-fed diet during the last 2 weeks of gestation. The two experiments examined the effects of intraperitoneal injection of saline or nicotine (0.25 or 0.75 mg/kg) on rearing in an operant chamber and locomotor activity in an open field for 60 min. The high dose of nicotine produced a decrease in rearing in the first 10-min period, followed by a later increase in rearing in the pair-fed and chow-fed groups, but not the FAE group. Nicotine also produced an elevation of locomotor activity in the open field in only the two control groups. These findings provide additional evidence that FAE rats show less behavioral responsiveness to nicotine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dietary Sucrose / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage
  • Nicotine / pharmacology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Nicotine