Date of Award

January 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Tristan Darland


Cocaine addiction has both genetic and environmentally driven components. Relatively recently several groups have suggested that epigenetic regulation of gene expression might be the mechanism linking environmental influence and inheritance in drug addiction. We have shown previously that embryonic cocaine exposure increases physiological and behavioral sensitivity to the drug in longitudinal adults. In this study, we provide evidence that the effects of embryonic pre-exposure to cocaine are intergenerational in zebrafish. In addition, we show how gene expression in the zebrafish telencephalon, which includes the teleost equivalent of the nucleus accumbens, changes during acute cocaine treatment during behavioral testing. These experiments outline gene expression pathways not extensively studied in the context of cocaine response. We show how embryonic exposure to cocaine affects these gene expression pathways when the longitudinal animals are acutely exposed. Finally, we show how chronic embryonic exposure affects these same pathways in 5-day old embryos.