Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Experimental Psychology

Committee Chair

Helen J Sable

Committee Member

Melloni Cook

Committee Member

Judith Cole


The reinforcing properties of psychostimulants are typically modulated via the dopaminergic system. Developmental exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in rats has been shown to produce alterations in the dopamine system that persist into adulthood. This research has been able to demonstrate that perinatal PCB exposure: a) enhances the acute motor activating effects of cocaine, b) decreases the time course for establisment of cocaine behavioral sensitization, c) enhances the acquisition of intravenous cocaine self-administration, and d) affects the expression of two dopaminergic trasporters: the dopamine transporter (DAT) and the vesicular monoamine transporter (VMAT). Both PCBs and cocaine act on these two daopaminergic transporters and could be possible mechanisms that contribute to PCB-induced alterations associated with the behavioral changes described above. Western blot was used to quantify DAT and VMAT expression in striatal and medial preforontal cortex samples (mPFC) taken at weaning (postnatal day 21) in male and female rats exposed to PCBs in utero and by lactational transfer. Differences in the DAT and the VAMAT expression were found in the weanlings exposed to PCBs (i.e., 3 and 6 mg/kg/day PCBs). Such results provide evidence of PCB-induced developmental insult to the dopaminergic transporters which can perhaps explain the altered behavioral response that occurs following psychostimulant administration later in life.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.