Different affective response to opioid withdrawal in adolescent and adult mice. Academic Article uri icon


  • AIMS: Drug withdrawal is suggested to play a role in precipitating mood disorders in individuals with familial predisposition. Age-related differences in affective responses to withdrawal might explain the increased risk of mental illnesses when drug use begins during adolescence. Since there is a lack of animal research examining the effects of opioid withdrawal during adolescence, the present study examined whether there are age-related differences in affective responses to opioid withdrawal. MAIN METHODS: Adolescent and adult mice were injected with two different morphine regimens, namely low and high, which differed in the dosage. Three and nine days following discontinuation of morphine administration, immobility time in the forced swim test (FST) and locomotion (total distance traveled) were evaluated. KEY FINDINGS: On withdrawal day 3 (WD3), adolescent mice exhibited a decrease in immobility as compared to controls. No significant differences in immobility were observed on withdrawal day 9 (WD9). This effect on FST behaviors was not due to changes in overall motor activity, since no differences in locomotion were observed on either WD3 or WD9 in adolescent mice. In adults, no differences in either FST or locomotor behaviors were observed on WD3. As expected, on WD9, adult mice exhibited an increase in immobility and a decrease in locomotion. SIGNIFICANCE: This study demonstrates age-dependent differences in both FST scores and locomotor behaviors during opioid withdrawal. FST behaviors are classically used to evaluate mood in rodents, thus this study suggests that opioid withdrawal might affect mood differentially across age.

published proceedings

  • Life Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Hodgson, S. R., Hofford, R. S., Wellman, P. J., & Eitan, S.

citation count

  • 37

complete list of authors

  • Hodgson, Stephen R||Hofford, Rebecca S||Wellman, Paul J||Eitan, Shoshana

publication date

  • January 2009