Developmental nicotine exposure precipitates multigenerational maternal transmission of nicotine preference and ADHD-like behavioral, rhythmometric, neuropharmacological, and epigenetic anomalies in adolescent mice.


Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado, Boulder, United States; Department of Integrative Physiology, University of Colorado, Boulder, United States. Electronic address: [Email]


Maternal smoking during pregnancy, a form of developmental nicotine exposure (DNE), is associated with increased nicotine use and neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD in children. Here, we characterize the behavioral, rhythmometric, neuropharmacological, and epigenetic consequences of DNE in the F1 (first) and F2 (second) generation adolescent offspring of mice exposed to nicotine prior to and throughout breeding. We assessed the effects of passive oral methylphenidate (MPH) administration and voluntary nicotine consumption on home cage activity rhythms and activity and risk-taking behaviors in the open field. Results imply a multigenerational predisposition to nicotine consumption in DNE mice and demonstrate ADHD-like diurnal and nocturnal hyperactivity and anomalies in the rhythmicity of home cage activity that are reversibly rescued by MPH and modulated by voluntary nicotine consumption. DNE mice are hyperactive in the open field and display increased risk-taking behaviors that are normalized by MPH. Pharmacological characterization of nicotinic and dopaminergic systems in striatum and frontal cortex reveals altered expression and dysfunction of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), hypersensitivity to nicotine-induced nAChR-mediated dopamine release, and impaired dopamine transporter (DAT) function in DNE mice. Global DNA methylation assays indicate DNA methylome deficits in striatum and frontal cortex of DNE mice. Collectively, our data demonstrate that DNE enhances nicotine preference, elicits hyperactivity and risk-taking behaviors, perturbs the rhythmicity of activity, alters nAChR expression and function, impairs DAT function, and causes DNA hypomethylation in striatum and frontal cortex of both first and second-generation adolescent offspring. These findings recapitulate multiple domains of ADHD symptomatology.



OUR Recent Articles