© 2016 Ravinder et al. Early life experiences affect the formation of neuronal networks, which can have a profound impact on brain function and behavior later in life. Previous work has shown that mice exposed to excessive sensory stimulation during development are hyperactive and novelty seeking, and display impaired cognition compared with controls. In this study, we addressed the issue of whether excessive sensory stimulation during development could alter behaviors related to addiction and underlying circuitry in CD-1 mice. We found that the reinforcing properties of cocaine were significantly enhanced in mice exposed to excessive sensory stimulation. Moreover, although these mice displayed hyperactivity that became more pronounced over time, they showed impaired persistence of cocaine-induced locomotor sensitization. These behavioral effects were associated with alterations in glutamatergic transmission in the nucleus accumbens and amygdala. Together, these findings suggest that excessive sensory stimulation in early life significantly alters drug reward and the neural circuits that regulate addiction and attention deficit hyperactivity. These observations highlight the consequences of early life experiences and may have important implications for children growing up in today’s complex technological environment.
Ravinder, S., Donckels, E. A., Ramirez, J. S. B., Christakis, D. A., Ramirez, J.-M., & Ferguson, S. M. (2016). Excessive Sensory Stimulation during Development Alters Neural Plasticity and Vulnerability to Cocaine in Mice. ENeuro, 3(4). https://doi.org/10.1523/eneuro.0199-16.2016