Animal Study Shows Cocaine Use in Father May Produce Addiction-Resistance in Sons

Animal Study Shows Cocaine Use in Father May Produce Addiction-Resistance in Sons

A recent study published in Nature Neuroscience shows that, for rats at least, substance abuse in the father may actually prevent the same substance abuse from recurring in the son. The study demonstrated how male rats addicted to cocaine tended to beget sons who were somewhat immune to the drug’s pleasurable effects.

The study findings were discussed at length in a recent PsychCentral posting which described them as groundbreaking. The study is the first of its kind to demonstrate that biological changes which result from cocaine us can be passed down from father to son. In this case, the father’s addiction can work to prevent the same dependency from forming in the male offspring.

In the study, male rats were allowed to self-administer doses of cocaine for two months’ time. The male rats were then mated with non-drug using females. The offspring of those unions were monitored to see their responsiveness to offered cocaine. The researchers noted that male offspring from these unions were less prone to take the offered cocaine and used smaller amounts when they did as compared to the study’s control group.

Upon further examination, the scientists found that these male offspring had higher levels of a certain protein in their brains which works to curb some of the effects of cocaine. Researchers are not sure why male and not female offspring were affected. At this point the research indicates only that there is some sort of sex-linked genetic change which occurs in the father that re-wires the biological blueprint for future generations. This could provide information to assist further research into the effects of a parent’s addiction on their children.

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