The Effects of Prenatal Exposure to Pregabalin on the Development of Ventral Midbrain Dopaminergic Neurons.

Walaa F Alsanie, Majid Alhomrani, Ahmed Gaber, Hamza Habeeballah, Heba A Alkhatabi, Raed I Felimban, Sherin Abdelrahman, Charlotte Hauser, Adeel G Chaudhary, Abdulhakeem S Alamri, Bassem M Raafat, Abdulwahab Alamri, Sirajudheen Anwar, Khaled A Alswat, Yusuf S Althobaiti, Yousif A Asiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Pregabalin is widely used as a treatment for multiple neurological disorders; however, it has been reported to have the potential for misuse. Due to a lack of safety studies in pregnancy, pregabalin is considered the last treatment option for various neurological diseases, such as neuropathic pain. Therefore, pregabalin abuse in pregnant women, even at therapeutic doses, may impair fetal development. We used primary mouse embryonic neurons to investigate whether exposure to pregabalin can impair the morphogenesis and differentiation of ventral midbrain neurons. This study focused on ventral midbrain dopaminergic neurons, as they are responsible for cognition, movement, and behavior. The results showed that pregabalin exposure during early brain development induced upregulation of the dopaminergic progenitor genes $\textit{Lmx1a}$ and $\textit{Nurr1}$ and the mature dopaminergic gene $\textit{Pitx3}$. Interestingly, pregabalin had different effects on the morphogenesis of non-dopaminergic ventral midbrain neurons. Importantly, our findings illustrated that a therapeutic dose of pregabalin (10 μM) did not affect the viability of neurons. However, it caused a decrease in ATP release in ventral midbrain neurons. We demonstrated that exposure to pregabalin during early brain development could interfere with the neurogenesis and morphogenesis of ventral midbrain dopaminergic neurons. These findings are crucial for clinical consideration of the use of pregabalin during pregnancy.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)852
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 10 2022

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-03-17
Acknowledgements: The authors extend their appreciation to the Deputyship for Research and Innovation, Ministry of Education, Saudi Arabia, for funding this work through project number 1-441-133.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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