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Accumulating evidence suggests that epigenetic mechanisms play an important role in the formation and maintenance of memory within the brain. Moreover, the effect of parental drug-exposure before gestation on behavioral state of offspring has been little studied. The main objective of the current study is to evaluate the effect of parental morphine exposure on avoidance memory, morphine preference and anxiety-like behavior of offspring. The total of 32 males and 32 females were used for mating. The animals were treated with morphine. The offspring according to their parental morphine treatment was divided into four groups (n=16) including paternally treated, maternally treated, both of parents treated and naïve animals. The pain perception, anxiety-like behavior, and avoidance memory were evaluated in the offspring. In the current study, the total of 256 offspring was used for the experiments (4 tasks × 4 groups of offspring × 8 female offspring × 8 male offspring). The finding revealed that the avoidance memory and visceral pain were reduced significantly in male and female offspring with at least one morphine-treated parent. Moreover, anxiety-like behavior was reduced significantly in the male offspring with at least one morphine-treated parent. While anxiety-like behavior was increased significantly in female offspring that were treated by morphine either maternally or both of parents. The data revealed that the endogenous opioid system may be altered in the offspring of morphine-treated parent(s), and epigenetic role could be important. However, analysis of variance signified the important role of maternal inheritance.
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