The effects of prenatal administration of phencyclidine (PCP) on the learning and memory processes of rat offspring were investigated at doses below the level for producing malformations. The offspring prenatally treated with PCP (10 or 20 mg/kg) on days 7 to 17, as well as on days 7 to 21 of gestation, showed disruption of the acquisition of passive avoidance response and pole-climbing avoidance response at the ages of 4 and 7 weeks, respectively. The brain weight of the offspring prenatally treated with PCP was significantly decreased. These results suggest that prenatal PCP administration impairs learning and memory processes of passive and active avoidance tasks and that more attention should be given to the developmental toxicity of PCP.
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