Postnatal consequences of prenatal cocaine exposure and myocardial apoptosis: does cocaine in utero imperil the adult heart?

Br J Pharmacol. 2005 Apr;144(7):887-8. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjp.0706130.


Cocaine use is common among pregnant women with a history of substance abuse, and has been shown to cause abnormalities in the heart during fetal and postnatal development. However, mechanisms underlying the detrimental effects of cocaine on the developing heart are not fully understood. In this issue, Bae and Zhang show that prenatal cocaine exposure increases the susceptibility of the postnatal heart to ischemia and reperfusion injury. Their results suggest that myocardial apoptosis induced by cocaine during fetal development may represent one of the mechanisms by which prenatal cocaine exposure exerts its long-term, deleterious consequences on postnatal cardiac function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Cardiomyopathies / chemically induced*
  • Cardiomyopathies / metabolism
  • Cardiomyopathies / pathology*
  • Cocaine / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*


  • Cocaine