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Paper   IPM / Cognitive Sciences / 17490
School of Cognitive Sciences
  Title:   Enhancement of neuronal excitability in the medial prefrontal cortex following prenatal morphine exposure
1.  E. Alaee
2.  N. Pachenari
3.  F. Khani
4.  S. Semnanian
5.  A. Shojaei
6.  H. Azizi
  Status:   Published
  Journal: Brain Research
  Year:  2023
  Supported by:  IPM
The clinical use and abuse of opioids during human pregnancy have been widely reported. Several studies have demonstrated that opioids cross the placenta in rats during late gestation, and prenatal morphine exposure has been shown to have negative outcomes in cognitive function. The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) is believed to play a crucial role in cognitive processes, motivation, and emotion, integrating neural information from several brain areas and sending converted information to other structures. Dysfunctions in this area have been observed in numerous psychiatric and neurological disorders, including addiction. This current study aimed to compare the electrophysiological properties of mPFC neurons in rat offspring prenatally exposed to morphine. Pregnant rats were injected with morphine or saline twice a day from gestational days 11-18. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings were performed in male offspring on postnatal days 14-18. All recordings were obtained in current-clamp configuration from mPFC pyramidal neurons to assess their electrophysiological properties. The results revealed that prenatal exposure to morphine shifted the resting membrane potential (RMP) to less negative voltages and increased input resistance and duration of action potentials. However, the amplitude, rise slope, and afterhyperpolarization (AHP) amplitude of the first elicited action potentials were significantly decreased in rats prenatally exposed to morphine. Moreover, the sag voltage ratio was significantly decreased in the prenatal morphine group. Our results suggest that the changes observed in the electrophysiological properties of mPFC neurons indicate an elevation in neuronal excitability following prenatal exposure to morphine.

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