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Behav Brain Res. 2013 Apr 15;243:44-52. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2012.12.049. Epub 2013 Jan 4.

A history of chronic morphine exposure during adolescence increases despair-like behaviour and strain-dependently promotes sociability in abstinent adult mice.

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  • 1McGill Group for Suicide Studies, Douglas Mental Health University Institute, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada. pierreeric.lutz@gmail.com


A crucial issue in treating opiate addiction, a chronic relapsing disorder, is to maintain a drug-free abstinent state. Prolonged abstinence associates with mood disorders, strongly contributing to relapse. In particular, substance use disorders occurring during adolescence predispose to depression later in adulthood. Using our established mouse model of opiate abstinence, we characterized emotional consequences into adulthood of morphine exposure during adolescence. Our results indicate that morphine treatment in adolescent mice has no effect on anxiety-like behaviours in adult mice, after abstinence. In contrast, morphine treatment during adolescence increases behavioural despair in adult mice. We also show that morphine exposure strain-dependently enhances sociability in adult mice. Additional research will be required to understand where and how morphine acts during brain maturation to affect emotional and social behaviours into adulthood.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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