A certain painkiller caused autism in mice

Animal study shows fentanyl can cause autism-like changes in young mice

male and female. The results of the study were published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia. Discuss

Fentanyl is one of the most commonly used analgesics in hospitals.

The research team reported that fentanylinduces autism in young male and female mice through activation of mu-opioid receptors in the anterior cingulate cortex. In addition, fentanyl-induced autism is partly explained by hypermethylation mediated by decreased expression of the Grin2b gene in the anterior cingulate cortex of mice.

"We found that fentanyl reduces the expressionGrin2b in the anterior cingulate cortex. Overexpression of Grin2b prevents fentanyl-induced autism-like behavior in mice. These results suggest a potential mechanism for preventing or treating autism-like behavior," says Yuan Shen, MD, senior author of the paper and professor of psychiatry at the 10th Shanghai People's Hospital.