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 October 2, 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 October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping School Violence

Stopping School Violence

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A trauma doctor steps out of the hospital and into the classroom to teach kids how to calmly solve conflicts, avoiding a trip to the ER. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Pineal Cysts: Debilitating Pain

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A tiny cyst in the brain that can cause debilitating symptoms like chronic headaches and insomnia, and the doctor who performs the delicate surgery to remove them. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Burning Away Brain Tumors

Burning Away Brain Tumors

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Doctors are 'cooking' brain tumors. Hear how this new laser-heat procedure cuts down on recovery time. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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