Friday, March 7, 2008

Your antidepressants and your baby's future drug habit

Whether it's food or drugs, the compounds in your body while your baby is developing can have a significant impact on your child. In this study, it is reported that (in rats) the offspring of mothers who were exposed to fluoxetine (Prozac) had fewer neurons in their nucleus accumbens, as well as less serotonin activity in their raphe nucleus. The nucleus accumbens is a brain region thought to be important in, among other things, reward, addiction, and pleasure. The raphe nucleus, a part of the brain stem, is responsible for releasing serotonin to other parts of the brain. With fewer neurons to tell the brain it's pleased, and less serotonin to help regulate mood, scientists wondered about the practical implications of these findings.

So....they put the offspring in a situation where they had free access to cocaine. Using a maze, they conditioned rats to associate a specific location of that maze with cocaine. Actually, the rats exposed to their mother's Prozac were a lot less active in the maze than rats who didn't have this exposure. However, those rats who did use the maze showed a preference for the location that had been associated with cocaine. When the cocaine was gradually removed from the protocol, Prozac-exposed rats took 350% longer to stop looking for the cocaine.

I don't need to add a comment, this study speaks for itself.

Forcelli PA, Heinrichs SC. Teratogenic effects of maternal antidepressant exposure on neural substrates of drug-seeking behavior in offspring. Addict Biol. 2008 Mar;13(1):52-62. Epub 2007 Sep 11.

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