Learning ability in adult female rats perinatally exposed to methadone

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1979 Jun;10(6):889-94. doi: 10.1016/0091-3057(79)90063-7.


Cognitive functioning of adult female rats that were maternally exposed to methadone (5 mg/kg daily) during gestation and/or lactation was studied by assessing performance on a food-motivated light-dark discrimination learning test and on active and passive shock-avoidance tests. Methadone-exposed rats exhibited difficulties on the light-dark discrimination learning and the active avoidance tests, and behavioral deficits appeared to be related to the timing and duration of drug treatment. On the light-dark discrimination test only 33% of the rats in the gestation group and 25% of the animals in the lactation group met criterion in comparison to 87% of the control rats. Thirty-three percent of the animals in either the gestation or gestation-lactation groups met criterion on the active avoidance test in contrast to 87% of the controls. These data suggest that perinatal exposure to methadone impairs cognitive abilities in the adult female rat.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / physiology
  • Avoidance Learning / drug effects
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Female
  • Learning / drug effects*
  • Methadone / pharmacology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prejudice / drug effects
  • Rats


  • Methadone