Christopher J. Heath

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An increasingly popular method of assessing cognitive functions in rodents is the automated touchscreen platform, on which a number of different cognitive tests can be run in a manner very similar to touchscreen methods currently used to test human subjects. This methodology is low stress (using appetitive rather than aversive reinforcement), has high(More)
Prenatal exposure to maternal smoking has been linked to cognitive and auditory processing deficits in offspring. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that exposure to nicotine disrupts neurodevelopment during gestation and adolescence, possibly by disrupting the trophic effects of acetylcholine. Given recent clinical and preclinical work suggesting that(More)
The automated touchscreen operant chamber for rats and mice allows for the assessment of multiple cognitive domains within the same testing environment. This protocol presents the location discrimination (LD) task and the trial-unique delayed nonmatching-to-location (TUNL) task, which both assess memory for location. During these tasks, animals are trained(More)
Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) is activated in vivo in a number of brain areas by nicotine and other drugs of abuse. Here we show that nicotine stimulation of cultured mouse cortical neurons leads to a robust induction of ERK phosphorylation that is dependent on nicotine concentration and duration of exposure. Calcium/calmodulin-dependent(More)
BACKGROUND Exposure to nicotine in tobacco smoke during development has been linked to subsequent deficits in attention and memory. The present study tested for evidence that genetic variation may contribute to individual differences in vulnerability to the effects of developmental exposure to tobacco smoke on memory and medial temporal lobe function in(More)
The spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR) is widely used as a model of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Deficits in central nicotinic receptors (nAChRs) have been previously observed in SHRs, which is interesting since epidemiological studies have identified an association between smoking and ADHD symptoms in humans. Here, we examine whether(More)
Tobacco smoke exposure during development can result in lasting alterations in sensory processing and attention. This suggests that some constituent of smoke, such as the primary addictive component, nicotine, alters neurodevelopment. Although many effects of developmental nicotine exposure have been identified in humans and animal models, very few(More)
Maternal smoking during pregnancy can impair performance of the exposed offspring in tasks that require auditory stimulus processing and perception; however, the tobacco component(s) responsible for these effects and the underlying neurobiological mechanisms remain uncertain. In this study, we show that administration of nicotine during mouse perinatal(More)