Learning ability in adult female rats perinatally exposed to methadone

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Cognitive functioning of adult female rats that were maternally exposed to methadone (5 mg/kg daily) during gestation and/or lactation was studied by assessing performance on a food-motivated light-dark discrimination learning test and on active and passive shock-avoidance tests. Methadone-exposed rats exhibited difficulties on the light-dark discrimination learning and the active avoidance tests, and behavioral deficits appeared to be related to the timing and duration of drug treatment. On the light-dark discrimination test only 33% of the rats in the gestation group and 25% of the animals in the lactation group met criterion in comparison to 87% of the control rats. Thirty-three percent of the animals in either the gestation or gestation-lactation groups met criterion on the active avoidance test in contrast to 87% of the controls. These data suggest that perinatal exposure to methadone impairs cognitive abilities in the adult female rat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)889-894
Number of pages6
JournalPharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1979

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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