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Early life adversity potentiates expression of addiction-related traits

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Hynes TJ, Thomas CS, Zumbusch AS, Samson A, Petriman I, Mrdja U, Orr A, Cutts E, Ruzindana BG, Hazari A, Zjadewicz M, Lovic V. Early life adversity potentiates
expression of addiction-related traits. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2017 Sep 9. pii: S0278-5846(17)30355-X. doi:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2017.09.005. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28899646.


Many individuals sporadically and circumstantially sample addictive drugs, yet few become addicted. The individual vulnerabilities underlying the development of addiction are not well understood. Correlational findings show that early life adversity is associated with a greater propensity to develop drug addiction. However, the mechanisms by which early life adversity increases addiction vulnerability are unknown. Separate lines of research have found that several traits are associated with addiction. Here, we examined the effects of early life adversity on addiction-related traits in adulthood. We weaned male and female Sprague-Dawley rats (postnatal day - PND21) and randomly assigned them to either a non-adversity group (N-ADV) or an adversity group (ADV). ADV rats experienced adversity from PND 21-35, they were: a) singly housed, b) food restricted for 12h/day, c) subjected to forced-swim sessions, and d) restrained and exposed to predator odour (1h). As adults, rats were tested for impulsivity, anxiety-like behaviour, novelty preference, and attribution of incentive salience to a reward cue. ADV rats showed enhanced novelty preference and attributed greater incentive value to a reward cue. Compared to N-ADV rats, a greater proportion of ADV rats expressed multiple addiction risk traits. Furthermore, fewer ADV rats expressed no addiction risk traits. This effect was most evident in female ADV rats.

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