The abuse of prescription opioids is a growing public health
problem. Prescription opioid abuse often
starts in adolescence, but most of what we know about opioids is from research
in adults. Our lab examines
abuse-related effects of morphine in adolescent mice and the mechanisms
underlying adolescent vulnerability to opioid abuse.
Results show that adolescents are more sensitive
than adults to the acute stimulant effects of morphine, but less sensitive to
its sedative effects. Thus, adolescents show
abuse-enhancing and abuse-limiting effects of morphine that differ from those
in adults. Using animal models to
examine the mechanisms underlying this heightened vulnerability yields
knowledge that can help to more effectively prevent and treat adolescent prescription
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Koek W. Effects of repeated exposure to morphine in adolescent and adult male C57BL/6J mice: age-dependent differences in locomotor stimulation, sensitization, and body weight loss. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2014 Apr 231(8):1517-29.
Koek W, France CP, Javors MA. Morphine-induced motor stimulation, motor incoordination, and hypothermia in adolescent and adult mice. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2012 Feb;219(4):1027-37.
Mitchell NC, Gould GG, Smolik CM, Koek W, Daws LC. Antidepressant-like drug effects in juvenile and adolescent mice in the tail suspension test: Relationship with hippocampal serotonin and norepinephrine transporter expression and function.Front Pharmacol. 2013 Oct 28;4:131.
Hensler JG, Artigas F, Bortolozzi A, Daws LC, De Deurwaerdère P, Milan L, Navailles S, Koek W. Catecholamine/Serotonin interactions: systems thinking for brain function and disease. Adv Pharmacol. 2013;68:167-97.
Horton RE, Apple DM, Owens WA, Baganz NL, Cano S, Mitchell NC, Vitela M, Gould GG, Koek W, Daws LC. Decynium-22 enhances SSRI-induced antidepressant-like effects in mice: uncovering novel targets to treat depression. J Neurosci. 2013 Jun 19;33(25):10534-43.