Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Brooke Schmeichel

Committee Members

Melissa Whitaker, Martin Olsen


Opioid use disorder (OUD) impacts 5.6 million people in the US. Buprenorphine (BUP) is a commonly prescribed opioid medication used to treat OUD, including in pregnant women. However, opioid use during pregnancy is associated with poorer infant outcomes including reduced fetal growth, neurodevelopmental deficits, and neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS). Recent clinical data suggests that providing mothers with a lower dose of BUP may result in fewer negative outcomes in infants. Here, a preclinical rodent model of low-dose perinatal BUP exposure was used to study offspring health outcomes in the neonate, juvenile, and adolescent offspring. Dams were given clinically relevant doses of BUP prior to and throughout gestation, and continuing through weaning to mimic human doses and exposure. Although the lowest BUP dose still elicited signs of NOWS in offspring, there were fewer negative effects on overall brain morphology across the early lifespan than that of the higher BUP dose compared to controls.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.