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Behav Brain Res. 2014 Jan 1;258:160-5. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2013.10.027. Epub 2013 Oct 21.

Effect of prenatal methadone on reinstated behavioral sensitization induced by methamphetamine in adolescent rats.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, Cathay General Hospital, Taipei City, Taiwan, ROC; School of Medicine, Fu Jen Catholic University, New Taipei City, Taiwan, ROC.


It has been known that methadone maintenance treatment is the standard treatment of choice for pregnant opiate addicts. However, there are few data on newborn outcomes especially in the cross talk with other addictive agents. The present study was to investigate the effect of prenatal exposure to methadone on methamphetamine (METH)-induced behavioral sensitization as an indicator of drug addiction in later life. Pregnant rats received saline or methadone (7 mg/kg, s.c.) twice daily from E3 to E20. To induce behavioral sensitization, offspring (5 weeks old) were treated with METH (1mg/kg, i.p.) or saline once daily for 5 consecutive days. Ninety-six hours (day 9) after the 5th treatment with METH or saline, animals received a single dose of METH (1mg/kg, i.p.) or saline to induce the reinstated behavioral sensitization. Prenatal methadone treatment enhanced the level of development of locomotor behavioral sensitization to METH administration in adolescent rats. Prenatal methadone treatment also enhanced the reinstated locomotor behavioral sensitization in adolescent rats after the administration had ceased for 96 h. These results indicate that prenatal methadone exposure produces a persistent lesion in the dopaminergic system, as indicated by enhanced METH-induced locomotor behavioral sensitization (before drug abstinence) and reinstated locomotor behavioral sensitization (after short term drug abstinence) in adolescent rats. These findings show that prenatal methadone exposure may enhance susceptibility to the development of drug addiction in later life. This could provide a reference for drug usage such as methamphetamine in their offspring of pregnant woman who are treating with methadone.

Copyright © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Adolescent rats; E2; METH; Methadone; Methamphetamine; P0; Reinstated behavioral sensitization; day 2 of gestation; i.p.; intraperitoneal; methamphetamine; postnatal day 0; s.c.; subcutaneous

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