Purkinje cells loss in off spring due to maternal morphine sulfate exposure: a morphometric study

Anat Cell Biol. 2012 Jun;45(2):121-7. doi: 10.5115/acb.2012.45.2.121. Epub 2012 Jun 30.


The toxic effects of morphine sulfate in the adult cerebral cortex and one-day neonatal cerebellum have been studied. This study was carried out to evaluate the effect of maternal morphine exposure during gestational and lactation period on the Purkinje cells and cerebellar cortical layer in 18- and 32-day-old mice offspring. Thirty female mice were randomly allocated into cases and controls. In cases, animals received morphine sulfate (10 mg/kg/body weight intraperitoneally) during the 7 days before mating, gestational day (GD 0-21) 18 or 32. The controls received an equivalent volume of saline. The cerebellum of six infants for each group was removed and each was stained with cresyl violet. Quantitative computer-assisted morphometric study was done on cerebellar cortex. The linear Purkinje cell density in both experimental groups (postnatal day [P]18, 23.40±0.5; P32, 23.45±1.4) were significantly reduced in comparison with the control groups (P18, 28.70±0.9; P32, 28.95±0.4) (P<0.05). Purkinje cell area, perimeter and diameter at apex and depth of simple lobules in the experimental groups were significantly reduced compared to the controls (P<0.05). The thickness of the Purkinje layer of the cerebellar cortex was significantly reduced in morphine treated groups (P<0.05). This study reveals that morphine administration before pregnancy, during pregnancy and during the lactation period causes Purkinje cells loss and Purkinje cell size reduction in 18- and 32-day-old infant mice.

Keywords: Cerebellum; Morphine sulfate; Mouse; Purkinje cells.