Introduction: The long lasting behavioural and cognitive impairments in offspring prenatally exposed to nicotine have been confirmed in animal models. In the present study, we investigated the effect of ascorbic acid on prenatal nicotine exposure induced behavioural deficits in male offspring of rats. Methods: The pregnant Wistar dams were divided into four groups of six rats: control, vehicle control, nicotine and nicotine+ascorbic acid groups. The nicotine group received daily dose of subcutaneous injections of 0.96 mg/kg body weight (bw) nicotine free base throughout gestation. Pregnant dams in nicotine+ascorbic acid group were first given nicotine free base (0.96 mg/kg bw/day; subcutaneous route) followed by ascorbic acid (50 mg/kg bw/day, orally) daily throughout gestation. The cognitive function of male offspring of all the experimental groups was studied using Morris water maze test at postnatal day 40. Results: Prenatal nicotine exposure altered spatial learning and memory in male offspring. However, treatment with ascorbic acid ameliorated these changes in rats. Conclusion: Ascorbic acid supplementation was found to be effective in preventing the prenatal nicotine exposure induced cognitive deficits in rat offspring to some extent.
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