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Journal of Perinatal Medicine

Official Journal of the World Association of Perinatal Medicine

Editor-in-Chief: Dudenhausen, Joachim W.

Editorial Board Member: / Bancalari, Eduardo / Greenough, Anne / Genc, Mehmet R. / Chervenak, Frank A. / Chappelle, Joseph / Bergmann, Renate L. / Bernardes, J.F. / Bevilacqua, G. / Blickstein, Isaac / Cabero Roura, Luis / Carbonell-Estrany, Xavier / Carrera, Jose M. / D`Addario, Vincenzo / D'Alton, MD, Mary E. / Dimitrou, G. / Grunebaum, Amos / Hentschel, Roland / Köpcke, W. / Kawabata, Ichiro / Keirse, M.J.M.C. / Kurjak M.D., Asim / Lee, Ben H. / Levene, Malcolm / Lockwood, Charles J. / Marsal, Karel / Makatsariya, Alexander / Nishida, Hiroshi / Ogata, Edward / Papp, Zoltán / Pejaver, Ranjan Kumar / Pooh, Ritsuko K. / Romero, Roberto / Saugstad, Ola D. / Schenker, Joseph G. / Sen, Cihat / Seri, Istvan / Vetter, Klaus / Winn, Hung N. / Young, Bruce K. / Zimmermann, Roland

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Nicotine affects the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor mRNA and protein in the hippocampus of hypoxic newborn piglets

Jannicke Hanne Andresen1 / Else Marit Løberg2 / Marianne Wright1 / Ingeborg Løstegaard Goverud2 / Babill Stray-Pedersen3 / Ola Didrik Saugstad1

1Department of Pediatric Research, Institute of Surgical Research, Medical Faculty, University of Oslo, Rikshospitalet University Hospital, Oslo, Norway

2Department of Pathology, Ullevål University Hospital, Oslo, Norway

3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical Faculty, University of Oslo, Rikshospitalet University Hospital, Oslo, Norway

Corresponding author: Jannicke Hanne Andresen, MD, PhD National Women's Health Newborn Services Auckland City Hospital Park Road, Grafton Private Bag 92024 Auckland, New Zealand Tel./fax: +64 9 307 49 49 extn. 25366/+64 9 375 4344

Citation Information: Journal of Perinatal Medicine. Volume 37, Issue 5, Pages 553–560, ISSN (Online) 1619-3997, ISSN (Print) 0300-5577, DOI: 10.1515/JPM.2009.081, June 2009

Publication History

Published Online:


Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is highly expressed in the developing brain. It has anti-apoptotic abilities, and protects the neonatal brain. In experimental settings in adult animals, pre-treatment with nicotine has shown increased BDNF levels, indicating a possible contribution to nicotine's anti-apoptotic effect. Apoptosis contributes to the development of brain damage in perinatal asphyxia. We examined the effects of nicotine on apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF), caspase-3 and BDNF in the hippocampus of a neonatal piglet model of global hypoxia. Forty-one anesthetized newborn piglets were randomized to one of four groups receiving different infusions after hypoxia (1) nicotine 130 μg/kg/h, 2) 260 μg/kg/h, 3) adrenaline, and 4) saline, all 2.6 mL/kg/h. Four hours after hypoxia they were euthanized. The left hemisphere/hippocampus was examined by histopathology and immunohistochemistry; the right hippocampus was analyzed using real time PCR. There was a significantly higher expression of BDNF mRNA and protein in the animals treated with nicotine 130 μg/kg/h vs. the saline treated group (mRNA P=0.038; protein P=0.009). There were no differences regarding AIF or caspase-3. We conclude that nicotine (130 μg/kg/h), infused over 1 h after global hypoxia in neonatal piglets, increases levels of both BDNF mRNA and protein in the hippocampus. This might imply neuroprotective effects of nicotine in asphyxiated neonates.

Keywords: Apoptosis-inducing factor; brain-derived neurotrophic factor; base excess; hippocampus, nicotine

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