Does the effect of morphine challenge change on maternal behaviour of dams chronically treated with morphine during gestation and further on during lactation?

Melinda Sobor, Julia Timár, Pal Riba, Kornél P. Király, Susanna Gyarmati, Mahmoud Al-Khrasani, Susanna Fürst

Research output: Article

7 Citations (Scopus)


Opioids impair the maternal behaviour of rats. The effect of morphine on maternal behaviour in dams treated chronically with morphine during the whole pregnancy and lactation has not been analysed systematically. The aim of the present study was to investigate the possible differences in the disruptive effect of morphine on maternal behaviour following morphine challenges between dams treated chronically with saline or morphine during gestation and postpartum. The antinociceptive action of morphine was also studied in dams. The disruptive effect of morphine on maternal behaviour was not changed as the postpartum period passed. The duration of this effect of morphine lasted for about 2. h. The dose-dependent disruptive effect of acute doses of morphine on maternal behaviour was more marked in the morphine-treated dams, than in the saline-treated ones, indicating a tendency for sensitisation to this effect. A trend for tolerance was observed to the antinociceptive effect of morphine in animals treated daily with morphine during the entire gestational and lactation periods; however, this difference did not reach statistical significance. Our experimental protocol might be a predictive model of human opioid abuse. Sensitisation to the impairing effect of opiates on maternal behaviour may explain why a mother abusing heroin neglects her baby even if she does not experience euphoria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-374
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - máj. 1 2010


ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Cite this