Fentanyl induces autism-like behaviours in mice
Environmental factors contribute to autism spectrum disorder. Fentanyl, one of the most widely used opioid analgesics in anaesthesia, can induce neurotoxicity, but its role in autism remains unknown. We determined whether fentanyl induced autism-like behaviours in young mice and the underlying mechanisms.
Fentanyl induced autism-like behaviours in both young male and female mice, and downregulated Grin2b expression and GluN2B protein amounts in the anterior cingulate cortex through hypermethylation of Grin2b. The mu-opioid receptor antagonist naloxone and overexpression of Grin2b in anterior cingulate cortex attenuated the fentanyl-induced effects, whereas DAMGO injection into the anterior cingulate cortex induced autism-like behaviours.
Reference: Sheng Z, Liu Q, Cheng C, Li M, Barash J, Kofke WA, Shen Y, Xie Z. Fentanyl induces autism-like behaviours in mice by hypermethylation of the glutamate receptor gene Grin2b. Br J Anaesth. 2022 Jun 11:S0007-0912(22)00239-2.