University at Buffalo - The State University of New York
Skip to Content

CNS Opioids and Maternal Behavior

Kristal | Thompson

Dr. Mark Kristal, of UB’s Department of Psychology, investigated opioid activation at the end of pregnancy and during delivery and its complex effect on maternal behavior. He and Dr. Alexis Thompson, RIA, focused their work on the development of a comprehensive model of the biobehavioral/neurochemical basis of maternal behavior, including the role of opioids in areas of the brain that mediate motivational processes delivery. Initial results strongly support the hypothesis that at delivery, endogenous opioids in the mesolimbic cortical pathway of the brain facilitate the inititation of maternal behavior. In addition, peri-parturitional behaviors, including placentophagia in animals, facilitate activation of opioid neurotransmission in this part of the brain. Funded by NSF to Dr. Kristal, UB Department of Psychology, subaccount to Dr. Thompson, RIA, 2005-2008.