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Papers of the Week

Papers: 23 Dec 2023 - 29 Dec 2023

2024 Jan

Dev Psychobiol




Adolescent morphine exposure changes the endogenous vlPAG opioid response to inflammatory pain in rats.


Alami K, Ghasemi E, Semnanian S, Azizi H


Adolescence is one of the most critical periods for brain development, and exposure to morphine during this period can have long-life effects on pain-related behaviors. The opioid system in the periaqueductal gray (PAG) is highly vulnerable to drug exposure. However, the impact of adolescent morphine exposure (AME) on the endogenous opioid system in the PAG is currently unknown. This study aims to investigate the long-lasting effects of AME on the endogenous opioid system and its involvement in altering nociceptive behaviors. Adolescent rats were given escalating doses of morphine (2.5-25 mg/kg, subcutaneous) or an equal volume of saline twice daily for 10 consecutive days (PND 31-40). After a 30-day washout period, adult rats underwent formalin tests following microinjection of morphine, naloxone, or saline into the ventrolateral PAG (vlPAG) region. The results indicated that morphine microinjection into the vlPAG of the adolescent morphine-treated group significantly reduced the nociceptive score. However, the analgesic response to morphine in this group was significantly lower compared to the saline-treated group during adolescence. Additionally, the nociceptive score significantly increased following naloxone but not saline microinjection into the vlPAG of the saline-treated group during adolescence, rather than the morphine-treated one. These findings indicate that AME has long-lasting effects on the endogenous opioid system in the vlPAG, which can consequently alter behaviors related to inflammatory pain in adulthood.