Brain-derived extracellular vesicle microRNA signatures associated with in utero and postnatal oxycodone exposure

Farah Shahjin, Rahul S. Guda, Victoria L. Schaal, Katherine Odegaard, Alexander Clark, Austin Gowen, Peng Xiao, Steven J. Lisco, Gurudutt Pendyala, Sowmya V. Yelamanchili

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Oxycodone (oxy) is a semi-synthetic opioid commonly used as a pain medication that is also a widely abused prescription drug. While very limited studies have examined the effect of in utero oxy (IUO) exposure on neurodevelopment, a significant gap in knowledge is the effect of IUO compared with postnatal oxy (PNO) exposure on synaptogenesis—a key process in the formation of synapses during brain development—in the exposed offspring. One relatively unexplored form of cell–cell communication associated with brain development in response to IUO and PNO exposure are extracellular vesicles (EVs). EVs are membrane-bound vesicles that serve as carriers of cargo, such as microRNAs (miRNAs). Using RNA-Seq analysis, we identified distinct brain-derived extracellular vesicle (BDEs) miRNA signatures associated with IUO and PNO exposure, including their gene targets, regulating key functional pathways associated with brain development to be more impacted in the IUO offspring. Further treatment of primary 14-day in vitro (DIV) neurons with IUO BDEs caused a significant reduction in spine density compared to treatment with BDEs from PNO and saline groups. In summary, our studies identified for the first time, key BDE miRNA signatures in IUO-and PNO-exposed offspring, which could impact their brain development as well as synaptic function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number21
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020


  • Brain derived EVs
  • In utero
  • Oxycodone
  • Postnatal
  • RNA-Seq

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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