Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci.  2020 Feb;18(1):93-108. 10.9758/cpn.2020.18.1.93.

Age-related Effects of Heroin on Gene Expression in the Hippocampus and Striatum of Cynomolgus Monkeys

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea
  • 2National Primate Research Center (NPRC), Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB), Cheongju, Korea
  • 3Department of Functional Genomics, University of Science and Technology, Daejeon, Korea


The aim of this study was to investigate differentially expressed genes and their functions in the hippocampus and striatum after heroin administration in cynomolgus macaques of different ages.
Cynomolgus monkeys were divided by age as follows: 1 year (A1, n = 2); 3 to 4 years (A2, n = 2); 6 to 8 years (A3, n = 2); and older than 11 years (A4, n = 2). After heroin was injected intramuscularly into the monkeys (0.6 mg/kg), we performed large-scale transcriptome profiling in the hippocampus (H) and striatum (S) using RNA sequencing technology. Some genes were validated with real-time quantitative PCR.
In the hippocampus, the gene expression of A1H was similar to that of A4H, while the gene expression of A2H was similar to that of A3H. Genes associated with the mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway (STMN1, FGF14, and MAPT) and -aminobutyric acid-ergic synapses (GABBR2 and GAD1) were differentially expressed among control and heroin-treated animals. Differential gene expression between A1S and A4S was the least significant, while differential gene expression between A3S and A2S was the most significant. Genes associated with the neurotrophin signaling pathway (NTRK1 and NGFR), autophagy (ATG5), and dopaminergic synapses (AKT1) in the striatum were differentially expressed among control and heroin-treated animals.
These results suggest that even a single heroin exposure can cause differential gene expression in the hippocampus and striatum of nonhuman primates at different ages.


Age factors; Heroin; Hippocampus; Nonhuman primates; Striatum; Gene expression profiling
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