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Neonatal administration of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) alters the neurochemical response to stress in the adult Fischer-344 rat

Neonatal administration of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) alters the neurochemical response to stress in the adult Fischer-344 rat

Neurotoxicology and Teratology 9(4): 321-327

Fischer-344 rat pups were injected with either 10 mg/kg delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or vehicle on postnatal days 4,6 and 8. Pups were then allowed to mature. On day 129 of age rats were exposed to a stress paradigm which consisted of inescapable electric foot-shock administered at 1 mA for 15 sec daily for 8 days. Analgesia induced by foot-shock was measured by tail withdrawal from 55 degree C water. On the 9th day rats were exposed to the shock environment only. Fifteen minutes following measurement of tail withdrawal, animals were sacrificed. Plasma corticosterone and prolactin were measured. Levels of norepinephrine, dopamine and 5-hydroxytryptamine and metabolites were determined in frontal cortex, hippocampus and hypothalamus. Neonatal exposure to THC produced an increase in baseline tail withdrawal latency. No effect of THC exposure was seen on acute stress-induced analgesia. Rats exposed to THC required a greater number of conditioning trials to develop conditioned analgesia than animals treated neonatally with vehicle. The conditioned stress increased plasma corticosterone without affecting prolactin. Stress increased hypothalamic 5HT and 5HIAA while decreasing 5HT turnover in this area. Dopamine and DOPAC levels in the hypothalamus and frontal cortex were increased by stress; dopamine turnover in the frontal cortex was elevated by stress. Neonatal THC and stress elevated norepinephrine above control levels in the hypothalamus, while increasing 5HT in the hippocampus and frontal cortex. The stress-induced increase in DOPAC in the frontal cortex was decreased by THC exposure. These data suggest that long-term neurochemical changes may occur with neonatal administration of THC.

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Accession: 040780319

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PMID: 2446111

DOI: 10.1016/0892-0362(87)90023-7

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