Studies have found that early drug exposure is a predisposing factor for later alcohol abuse. Therefore, comprehending the lasting effects of in utero opiate exposure is imperative. The goal of this study was to investigate the effects of prenatal methadone exposure on basal and stress-induced alcohol consumption in adulthood given that prenatal opioid exposure has been linked to heightened stress reactivity. The methadone exposure was conducted twice a day from G4-20. Offspring were allowed to age to adulthood (postnatal day ~ P70) at which male and female offspring were given 30-minute access to an EtOH solution mixed with a sweetener every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a total of 4 weeks. After 3 weeks of basal ethanol intake, animals were exposed to forced swim stress (FSS for 10 min), followed by a final drinking session ~10 hours later. Preliminary results show that basal ethanol intake was significantly lower in methadone-exposed offspring compared to controls, regardless of sex. Interestingly, stress exposure significantly increased ethanol consumption in control female offspring relative to their basal intake, an effect that was absent in methadone-exposed females. Together, these findings suggest that prenatal opioid exposure may have abating effects on basal and stress-induced alcohol consumption in adulthood.
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Montero, Michelle, "Effects of Prenatal Methadone Exposure on Ethanol Intake in Adult Sprague Dawley Offspring" (2020). Research Days Posters Spring 2020. 56.