Maternal Nicotine Studies - Alpha2-Null Mutant Mice
The objective of the current study is to test the hypothesis that the alpha(α)2* nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) (encoded by the Chrna2 gene) contribute to maternal nicotine-induced learning and memory deficits in adolescent mice. We use a pre-exposure-dependent contextual fear conditioning behavioral paradigm that is highly hippocampus-dependent. Adolescent wild type and α2-null mutant offspring are exposed to vehicle or maternal nicotine exposure (200 µg/ml, expressed as base) in the drinking water throughout pregnancy until weaning. Adolescent male offspring mice are tested for alterations in growth and development characteristics as well as modifications in locomotion, anxiety, shock-reactivity and learning and memory.