The effects of prenatal and perinatal administration of a nonteratogenic dose of phencyclidine (PCP) on the behavioral development of Sprague-Dawley rats were examined. In the offspring prenatally treated with PCP (10 mg/kg) between days 7 and 17 of gestation, a decrease in maternal body weight in the gestation period, a decrease in fetal body weight and body length, a decrease in viability of offsprings, and a decrease in the body weights of the offspring in the nursing period were observed. Furthermore, PCP pups had difficulty performing the rota-rod task at 4 weeks and exhibited a decrease in sensitivity to challenged PCP at 5 weeks (female). In the offspring prenatally treated with PCP between days 7 and 21 of gestation, a decrease in the body weights of dams, fetuses and offspring, and a decrease in the viability of offsprings were observed. PCP pups showed an increase in the score for head-twitch response (male), a delay in the development of ambulation, negative geotaxis (male), bar holding and rope-descending behavior (female). However, the PCP administration during prenatal (between days 17 and 21 of gestation) and nursing periods showed only a decrease in viability and body weight of offspring, and a delay in the development of the separation of eyelids. These results suggest that more attention should be given to the developmental toxicity of PCP.
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