Effects of maternal separation on nicotine-induced conditioned place preference and subsequent learning and memory in adolescent female rats
Adverse early life experiences can potentially increase risk for drug abuse later in life. However, little research has been conducted studying the effects of maternal separation (MS), an experimental model for early life stress, on the rewarding effects of nicotine. Cognitive function may be affected by MS. So, we also investigated whether nicotine administration affect spatial learning and memory in MS adolescent female rats. Rat pups were subjected to daily MS for 15min (MS15) or 180min (MS180) during the first 2 weeks of life or reared under normal animal facility rearing (AFR) conditions. The place preference test was performed with nicotine (0.6mg/kg,s.c.) or vehicle over a period of 6 conditioning trials during adolescence. Spatial learning and memory performance was evaluated by using Morris water maze (MWM). In our study, adolescent female rats exposed to MS180 shown a significantly greater preference for a nicotine-paired compartment during the testing phase than the MS15 group. Nicotine altered the MS-induced spatial learning defects in the MS180 group. These findings suggest that MS may increase sensitivity to the rewarding effects of nicotine and also it is possible to suggest that nicotine administration may influence learning dysfunction induced by MS in adolescent female rats.
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