Enhanced sensitivity to methadone in adult rats perinatally exposed to methadone

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Adult rats, maternally exposed to methadone during gestation and/or lactation, were evaluated for thermoregulatory and nociceptive responsiveness following a challenge with 5 mg/kg (i.p.) methadone. Prior to drug administration, female rats in the gestation and gestation-lactation groups and all male rats perinatally exposed to methadone were subnormal in body temperature. One hour after acute methadone injection, male control rats were hypothermic. All groups of methadone-treated offspring exhibited a marked lowering in body temperature with respect to their pre-injection levels, as well as in regard to values of methadone-administered control animals. Prior to drug administration, male rats of the gestation-lactation group and female rats of the gestation and lactation groups had elevated nociceptive thresholds. Except for male rats in the lactation group, animals treated with methadone perinatally had longer latencies in response to the hot-plate relative to their pre-injection values, as well as to levels of methadone-injected controls. Three days after acute methadone administration, some groups of rats subjected to this drug during gestation and/or lactation were found to be hypothermic and hypalgesic in respect to their pre-injection values, and also relative to control rats. These results suggest that exposure to methadone early in life can have a profound influence on drug response in adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1137-1142
Number of pages6
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 14 1981

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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