Endocrine consequences of perinatal methadone exposure.
In summary, we have shown that marked acute responses as well as persistent changes in hypothalamopituitary responsivity to opiate challenge result from perinatal opioid addiction. We have also shown that different endocrine systems and opioid receptor subtypes develop at different rates, and that the responses of these systems depend upon the relative timing of the treatment regimen and the functional development of the particular opioid system involved. It should be emphasized that these studies have investigated only a single developmental window. The additional critical question of how opioid neuron function is affected by treatment during the period of active neuronal differentiation has not yet been answered. However, these studies do demonstrate the utility of this neuroendocrine model in assessing opioid function following chronic treatment regimens. By using neuroendocrine function as an end point, multiple systems can be studied simultaneously in the same animal. This has a particular advantage in studying the effects of chronic drug exposure on the developing nervous system, because hormone secretion is an easily quantifiable and early maturing functional index which can be used to identify vulnerable (and resistant) systems. Endogenous opioid systems appear to be particularly important in neuroendocrine regulation during the early phase of development, when other neural controls have not yet matured. Our preliminary results suggest that specific opioid systems that mature early may be especially important in the specific neuroendocrine effects of perinatal opiate addiction.
Kuhn, C; Bero, L; Ignar, D; Lurie, S; Field, E
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Pubmed Central ID
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)