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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Prenatal nicotine affects catecholamine gene expression in newborn rat carotid body and petrosal ganglion.

Nicotine exposure modifies the expression of catecholamine and opioid neurotransmitter systems involved in attenuation of hypoxic chemosensitivity. We used in situ hybridization histochemistry to determine the effect of prenatal and early postnatal nicotine exposure on tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), dopamine beta-hydroxylase (DbetaH), preproenkephalin (PPE), and D2-dopamine receptor mRNA levels in the rat carotid body and petrosal ganglion during postnatal development. In the carotid body, nicotine increased TH mRNA expression in animals at 0 and 3 postnatal days (both, P < 0.05 vs. control) without affecting TH mRNA levels at 6 and 15 days. At 15 postnatal days, DbetaH mRNA levels were increased in the carotid body of nicotine-exposed animals. Dopamine D2-receptor mRNA levels in the carotid body increased with postnatal age but were unaffected by nicotine exposure. PPE was not expressed in the carotid body at any of the ages studied in control or treated animals. In the petrosal ganglion, nicotine increased the number of ganglion cells expressing TH mRNA in animals at 3 days (P < 0.01 vs. control). DbetaH mRNA expression was not induced nor was PPE mRNA expression increased in the petrosal ganglion in treated animals. Prenatal nicotine exposure upregulates mRNAs involved in the synthesis of two inhibitory neuromodulators, dopamine and norepinephrine, in peripheral arterial chemoreceptors, which may contribute to abnormalities in cardiorespiratory control observed in nicotine exposed animals.[1]


  1. Prenatal nicotine affects catecholamine gene expression in newborn rat carotid body and petrosal ganglion. Gauda, E.B., Cooper, R., Akins, P.K., Wu, G. J. Appl. Physiol. (2001) [Pubmed]
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