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J Neurosci. 2000 Jun 15;20(12):4732-9.

Adult learning deficits after neonatal exposure to D-methamphetamine: selective effects on spatial navigation and memory.

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Division of Developmental Biology, Children's Hospital Research Foundation, Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229-3039, USA.


The effects of neonatal d-methamphetamine (MA) treatment on cued and spatial learning and memory were investigated. MA was administered to neonatal rats on postnatal days 11-20. All groups received four subcutaneous injections per day. Group MA40-4 received 40 mg. kg(-1). d(-1) of MA in four divided doses (10 mg/kg per injection). Group MA40-2 received 40 mg. kg(-1). d(-1) of MA in two divided (20 mg/kg/injection) and saline for the other two injections per day. Controls received saline for four injections per day. As adults, both MA groups showed no differences in swimming ability in a straight swimming channel. The MA40-4 group showed no differences in cued learning, but was impaired in hidden platform learning in the Morris water maze on acquisition. They also showed reduced memory performance on probe trials. Similar trends were seen on reversal learning and reversal probe trials. Reduced platform-size learning trials caused spatial learning impairments to re-emerge in the MA40-4 group. The MA40-2 group showed no differences in straight channel swimming, but was slower at finding the visible platform during cued learning. They were also impaired during acquisition and memory trials in the Morris hidden platform maze. They showed a similar trend on reversal learning and memory trials, but were not different during reduced platform-size learning trials. When the MA40-2 group's performance on hidden platform learning and memory trials was adjusted for cued trial performance, the spatial learning deficits remained. Deficits of spatial learning and memory are a selective effect of neonatal methamphetamine treatment irrespective of other learning and performance variables.

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