It is reported that opium consumption during pregnancy is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes and neurodevelopmental defects in infants. BDNF and NGF alterations during pregnancy cause neurobehavioral deficits in the offspring. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of opium addiction of pregnant women on BDNF and NGF levels in maternal and umbilical cord blood as well as pregnancy outcome.
The present research was a cross-sectional study. Thirty-five addicted pregnant women and thirty-five healthy pregnant women were included in the study. Blood samples were taken immediately after delivery from the maternal vein and umbilical cord. Then, BDNF and NGF concentrations in serum were measured by ELISA kits. The outcomes of pregnancy were determined by a checklist. Descriptive, T-test, Mann-Whitney, and Chi-square test were used to analyze the data. SPSS version 21 software was used for the analyses. A p-value <0.05 was considered significant.
BDNF levels were significantly lower in maternal and umbilical cord blood in the opium-addicted group (917.2 31 ± 316.5 pg/ml and 784.6 ± 242.9 pg/ml respectively) compared to the control group (1351 ± 375 pg/ml and 1063 ± 341 pg/ml respectively) (p<0.0001and p< 0.0002 respectively). Similarly, NGF level was significantly lower in maternal and umbilical cord blood in the opium-addicted group (302.7±35.50 pg/ml and 226.6±45.43 pg/ml respectively) compared to the control group (345.7±43.16 pg/ml and 251.2±37.72 pg/ml respectively) (p<0.0001and p= 0.0165 respectively). Adverse pregnancy outcomes such as NICU admissions, congenital anomalies, neonatal deaths, meconium contaminated amniotic fluid, respiratory problems, neonatal resuscitation, and low Apgar score were significantly higher in the opium-addicted group than in the control group.
The results of this study revealed that opium consumption during pregnancy reduces BDNF and NGF levels in maternal and umbilical cord blood, which may cause neurodevelopmental disorders in later periods of infants’ life.

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