Prenatal Morphine Exposure Interacts with Adult Stress to Affect Type and Number of Blood Leucocytes

  • James T. Martin
  • Sandra L. Nehlsen-Cannarella
  • Gary M. Gugelchuk
  • Omar Fagoaga
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 402)


Maternal exposure during pregnancy to drugs of abuse often leads to long term effects on physiological regulatory mechanisms in the offspring. The effects of maternal opiate, cocaine or alcohol abuse on offspring gross morphological and behavioral development have been relatively well studied (1); however, there are few studies on how maternal drug abuse affects offspring immune function per se (2,3,4). Opiates given during early development affect levels of brain opiate receptors (5) and pain thresholds in adulthood (6,7). One might expect these long-lasting neural effects to show up in altered cellular immune function, since immune cells employ many of the same biochemical messenger systems as the nervous system and since changes in the brain may result in altered signals from the brain to the lymphoid organs To explore these questions this study examines how morphine administration to mother rats affects hematological parameters in the adult progeny. Because opiate systems are closely associated with adaptive mechanisms for responding to stress, we examined peripheral blood leucocyte distributions under both normal and stressed conditions.


White Blood Cell Count Prenatal Exposure Morphine Group Osteopathic Medicine Prenatal Cocaine Exposure 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • James T. Martin
    • 1
  • Sandra L. Nehlsen-Cannarella
    • 2
  • Gary M. Gugelchuk
    • 1
  • Omar Fagoaga
    • 2
  1. 1.Basic Science FacultyCollege of Osteopathic Medicine of the PacificPomonaUSA
  2. 2.Immunology CenterLoma Linda University Medical CenterLoma LindaUSA

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