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Effects of morphine treatment in female rats during reproductive period: offspring neurobehavioral and physical development, maternal behavior and molecular biology of opiod receptors


The emergence and maintenance of maternal behavior (MB) is controlled by the interaction of environmental, biochemical, hormonal and neural factors. Studies show that opioidergic stimulation resulting from treatment with morphine in breeding females generates differentiated late effects (especially behavioral) in accordance with the physiological status during treatment. Thus, this treatment may or not affect the MB and possibly result in effects on offspring. Analyzing brain districts involved in the modulation of the MC as the medial preoptic area (MPOA) came also to the periaqueductal gray (PAG), an important region involved in reproduction, food intake, aggression, and nociception (has a high density of opioid receptors ) in rodents. The PAG has subdivisions and the medial dorsal portion of the stimulatory behavior of poaching of lactating rats while the lateral portion modulate the MB, but there are few works that focus on the role of subtypes of opioid receptors and their molecular biology and other brain regions also involved are poorly understood in this context. This project aims to investigate whether pharmacological modulation with selective agonists for each subtype of opioid receptor could promote changes in different MB in lactating rats and sensitivity to pain, and whether this phenomenon could be mediated by specific actions of the three subtypes of opioid receptors and in regions known to be involved in the control of MB as hypothalamus, striatum and PAG itself. The hypothesis for this study is that the expression of genes coding for these receptors in these brain regions, and their protein products would be modulated by opioidergic stimulation to the beginning of pregnancy, with possible implications for the selection of behavior during lactation, as the maternal, essential for the survival of the species. Still, changes in MB may knowingly compromise the physical and neurobehavioral aspects / molecular mechanisms of offspring, parameters that will be evaluated in this study. (AU)

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