The impact of exposure to addictive drugs on future generations: Physiological and behavioral effects

Vassoler FM, Byrnes E, Pierce RC

Neuropharmacology, 76 Pt B:269-75

It is clear that both genetic and environmental factors contribute to drug addiction. Recent evidence indicating trans-generational influences of drug abuse highlight potential epigenetic factors as well. Specifically, mounting evidence suggests that parental ingestion of abused drugs influence the physiology and behavior of future generations even in the absence of prenatal exposure. The goal of this review is to describe the trans-generational consequences of preconception exposure to drugs of abuse for five major classes of drugs: alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, opioids, and cocaine. The potential epigenetic mechanisms underlying the transmission of these phenotypes across generations also are detailed. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'NIDA 40th Anniversary Issue'.