Perinatal morphine exposure alters peptidergic development in the striatum

Beatrice Tenconi, Maria Luisa Donadoni, Cristina Finco, Elena Germani, Maria Luisa Malosio, Anna Maria Di Giulio, Paolo Mantegazza, Alfredo Gorio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It has been reported that perinatal exposure to opiates affects mRNA synthesis, body growth and brain development in mammals, including humans. We have observed that morphine administration in drinking water during the perinatal period alters peptide development in the striatum of the rat. There is a marked increase in substance P and met-enkephalin content, the latter is maintained even at 30 days postnatally. The transient increase or earlier maturation of substance P content is correlated by a more precocious axon terminal organization as revealed by immunocytochemical staining. The increased metenkephalin content is correlated by a higher abundance of preproenkephalin A mRNA and this correlation is particularly evident at 15 days postnatally. At earlier times both northern blotting and in situ hybridization techniques fail to show any significant difference between control and morphine exposed rats, likely because the peptide content is not very different in the two groups or at least the gap is not as wide as at later times.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-526
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Neuroscience
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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