The Effect of Opium Dependency of Parent (s) on Offspring’s Spatial Learning & Memory in Adult Male Rats

Document Type : Original Article


1 Kerman Neuroscience Research Center, Kerman University of Medical Sciences Kerman, Iran

2 Department of Anatomical and Reproductive Biology, Faculty of Medical sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Mashhad Cognitive Neuroscience Research Center and Department of Physiology, Faculty ofMedical sciences, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

4 Department of Physiology and Medical Student Research Committee, Faculty of Medical sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences. Tehran, Iran


Objective(s):As far as we know,there has been no report regarding the effects of opium addiction or dependency of both parents on the learning and memory process in offspring. The aim of this study was to examine the learning and memory changes of adult male offspring whose mothers, fathers and/or both parents had dependency to opium before and during pregnancy.
Materials and Methods: All experiments were carried out on Wistar rats. Opium dependency was induced by daily injections of opium (10 mg/kg/SC, bid/10 d) before mating. The presence of a vaginal plug was designated as gestation day. Treatment with opium continued through breeding and gestation until parturition. Spatial memory was tested in male offspring of control, saline and prenatal opium treated groups by a training trial and the probe test in the Morris water maze. Swimming escape latency in the maze and the ability to find the platform in the training trial were recorded. The time spent in the trigger zone and number of times the rats crossed the platform during the probe phase and swimming speed were measured.
Results:Thedata revealed increased escape latency and a greater distance traveled to find the hidden platform in the offspring’s whose mother, father and /or both parents were exposed to opium. Crossings to target quadrant at probe trials was significantly reduced in all of the prenatal opium exposed offsprings. The swimming speed showed a significant increase in father and parent’s opium exposed offspring. 
Conclusion:Prenatal opium exposure of either parent may cause deficits in spatial learning, but the precise mechanism(s) remain largely unknown.


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