Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Prenatal exposure to nicotine affects stem cells in hippocampus

Date:
November 15, 2010
Source:
Society for Neuroscience
Summary:
Prolonged prenatal exposure to nicotine decreases the number of newborn cells in the hippocampus, a brain area important in learning and memory, according to preliminary research. The study offers a neurobiological explanation for why the children of women who smoke during pregnancy are at an increased risk of developing learning disabilities.

Prolonged prenatal exposure to nicotine decreases the number of newborn cells in the hippocampus, a brain area important in learning and memory, according to preliminary research presented at Neuroscience 2010, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, held in San Diego. The study offers a neurobiological explanation for why the children of women who smoke during pregnancy are at an increased risk of developing learning disabilities.

"Previous research has shown that nicotine, cocaine, and other addictive drugs decrease the number of newborn cells in adults. Our research suggests that these effects may be even more dramatic in newborn animals," said Robin Lester, PhD, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who directed the study. "These findings provide further warnings to expectant mothers that they should seek help in refraining from smoking during pregnancy," Lester said.

To mimic the conditions of moderate to heavy smoking in a pregnant mother, Lester and his colleagues treated pregnant rats with nicotine through an implanted mini-pump, which acts similarly to a nicotine patch. The researchers then counted the number of newborn cells in the offsprings' dentate gyrus, a section of the hippocampus known to contain neuronal stem cells. They also monitored synaptic plasticity -- the reorganization of neural pathways considered essential to learning.

"We found a reduced number of dividing stem cells and altered plasticity in the newborn animals exposed to nicotine," Lester said. These findings may lead to new approaches to treating learning disabilities and other behavior deficits associated with prenatal nicotine exposure.

Research was supported by a United States Public Service Grant and the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Neuroscience. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for Neuroscience. "Prenatal exposure to nicotine affects stem cells in hippocampus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101115155215.htm>.
Society for Neuroscience. (2010, November 15). Prenatal exposure to nicotine affects stem cells in hippocampus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101115155215.htm
Society for Neuroscience. "Prenatal exposure to nicotine affects stem cells in hippocampus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101115155215.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Do We Get Nicer With Age?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A recent report claims personality can change over time as we age, and usually that means becoming nicer and more emotionally stable. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins