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Cerebral ornithine decarboxylase levels following gestational exposure to cocaine.


The pre- and postnatal developmental course of cerebral ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) has been studied in infant rats after treatment of pregnant dams with cocaine. Levels of cocaine attained in brains and serum of embryos were not initially increased over corresponding maternal values, but were more persistent. However, cocaine was not longer detectable in these tissues 4 days after administration. The cerebral ODC level of treated pups was initially depressed and subsequently elevated relative to control values. These changes were apparent at times when cocaine was not detected in the developing brain. Results indicate that a transient exposure to cocaine in utero may lead to prolonged developmental abnormality.

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