Effects of opiates on neuronal development in the rat cerebral cortex

Joruel V. Seatriz, Ronald P. Hammer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Quantitative morphological characteristics of cells in the primary somatosensory cortex of 6-dayold rats were examined following continuous maternal administration of morphine (10 mg/kg/day), naltrexone (10 mg/kg/day), or saline vehicle from gestation day 12. Naltrexone reduced neuronal packing density and significantly increased cortical thickness but had no effect on neuronal number, while morphine reduced neuronal packing density and the number of neurons without affecting cortical thickness. These results suggest that blockade of endogenous opioid function during development enhances neuronal maturation in this brain region, while perinatal morphine administration might act to restrict cortical cell proliferation and maturation. Thus, the effect of ontogenetic activation of opioid receptors by endogenous opioid compounds could be similar to but less severe than the effect of exogenous opiate exposure on cortical cell development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-527
Number of pages5
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 1993


  • Brain growth
  • Cerebral cortex
  • Development
  • Endorphins
  • Morphine
  • Naltrexone
  • Neuronal packing density
  • Opiate receptor
  • Opioids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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