Perinatal exposure to environmental tobacco smoke upregulates nicotinic cholinergic receptors in monkey brain

T. A. Slotkin, Kent E Pinkerton, J. T. Auman, D. Qiao, F. J. Seidler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

60 Scopus citations


In humans, perinatal exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is associated with neurobehavioral deficits. In the current study, we exposed Rhesus monkeys to ETS in late gestation and in the early neonatal period, and examined changes in neurotransmitter receptors in the brainstem and caudal portion of the cerebral cortex. Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors were markedly upregulated and the effect was selective in that there were no changes in m2-muscarinic acetylcholine receptors or in β-adrenergic receptors. Nicotinic receptor upregulation is indicative of chronic cell stimulation by nicotine, and is a hallmark of nicotine-induced neuroteratogenesis. These results indicate that perinatal ETS exposes the fetus and neonate to quantities of nicotine that are sufficient to alter brain development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-179
Number of pages5
JournalDevelopmental Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 28 2002



  • β-Adrenergic receptor
  • Environmental tobacco smoke
  • Muscarinic acetylcholine receptor
  • Nicotine
  • Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Developmental Neuroscience

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