The influence of opioid receptor blockade on the developmental and behavioral effects of prenatal stress was studied. Time-mated dams were implanted with minipumps on day 17 of gestation containing vehicle (V) or naltrexone (NTX, 10 mg/kg/day). Noise and light stress was applied on an unpredictable basis, three times a week throughout gestation to half the dams. Maternal NTX completely prevented the reduction in anogenital distance in prenatally stressed (PS) males and restored the growth rate of both sexes. NTX also decreased the anxiety of PS rats in the plus-maze, increased the opioid component of exploration to control levels, but increased anxiety in control males. NTX did not restore the lower saccharin preference in PS females and decreased it in C females. This suggests that some morphological and behavioral changes induced by prenatal stress could result from excess opioid activity induced by maternal stress.
Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior – Elsevier
Published: Mar 1, 1995
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