Corticosterone Administration After Early Adolescent Stress Selectively Blocks Stress-induced Potentiation and Incubation of Morphine Place Preference in Adulthood
Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a large public health concern within the United States. A significant predictor of anxiety and substance abuse disorders in adulthood is childhood or adolescent trauma – psychological or physical. Here we explore the longitudinal effects of early adolescent stress, and the treatment thereof, on the rewarding properties of opioids in adulthood. Using various stressors on mice during early adolescence (PND 30-31), we test the effects of the stress on the rewarding properties of morphine in adulthood (PND 72). To assess morphine reward, we use morphine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP) paradigm in which the motivational properties of morphine are repeatedly paired with a neutral context, that can later elicit an approach behavior toward the morphine-paired context. The effects of stress during adolescence have a long-term effect on potentiating CPP into adulthood. However, no study, to our knowledge, has investigated the effects of treatment interventions post-adolescent stress to alleviate the detrimental effects of stress on both the memory of the stressor and the increased rewarding properties of drugs. A current treatment intervention after trauma in clinical populations is hydrocortisone, a steroid hormone which has shown to be successful at reducing PTSD symptoms three-months after the trauma exposure. We found that the rodent equivalent of hydrocortisone, corticosterone, administration after stress in adolescence selectively ameliorates the impact of the stressor and normalized morphine preference to levels comparable to non-stressed controls. These findings help to uncover potential treatments to aid in the prevention of addictive behaviors.