Transfat intake across gestation and lactation increases morphine preference in females but not in male rats: Behavioral and biochemical parameters

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The abuse of morphine has risen considerably in recent years, mainly due to the increase of its prescription in clinical medicine. Also, increased consumption of processed foods, rich in trans fatty acids (TFA), has caused concerns about human health. Thus, the aim of our study was to determine whether trans fat consumption in the perinatal period may affect preference for morphine in adolescent female and male rats. Dams were orally supplemented with water (C-control) or hydrogenated vegetable fat (HVF-rich in TFA) during gestation and lactation periods. On post-natal day 43, pups were exposed to morphine (4 mg/kg i.p., for 4 days) and assessed in the conditioned place preference paradigm. Anxiety-like symptoms were assessed, and oxidative status of the brain was estimated by reactive species (RS) generation. Female rats with HVF supplementation showed increased morphine preference and less anxiety-like symptoms. Additionally, both male and female rats from HVF-supplementation showed increased RS generation in the ventral tegmental area, whose level was similar in morphine-conditioned female rats. RS generation was increased in the hippocampus of morphine-conditioned female rats, regardless of the supplementation of their dams. We may infer that gender is a predictive factor to opioid preference, since adolescent female rats showed more susceptibility to addiction than males. Furthermore, trans fat consumption across the perinatal period is able to modify parameters of opioid preference in female rats, possibly due to TFA incorporation in phospholipid membranes, modifying the endogenous opioid system and the oxidative status in brain areas related to drug addiction.

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