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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2003 Mar;304(3):1181-7.

Methylphenidate alters vesicular monoamine transport and prevents methamphetamine-induced dopaminergic deficits.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112, USA.


It has been hypothesized that high-dose methamphetamine treatment rapidly redistributes cytoplasmic dopamine within nerve terminals, leading to intraneuronal reactive oxygen species formation and well characterized persistent dopamine deficits. We and others have reported that in addition to this persistent damage, methamphetamine treatment rapidly decreases vesicular dopamine uptake, as assessed in purified vesicles prepared from treated rats; a phenomenon that may contribute to aberrant intraneuronal dopamine redistribution proposedly caused by the stimulant. Interestingly, post-treatment with dopamine transporter inhibitors protect against the persistent dopamine deficits caused by methamphetamine; however, mechanisms underlying this phenomenon have not been elucidated. Also of interest are findings that dopamine transporter inhibitors, including methylphenidate, rapidly increase 1) vesicular dopamine uptake, 2) vesicular monoamine transporter-2 (VMAT-2) ligand binding, and 3) VMAT-2 immunoreactivity in a vesicular subcellular fraction prepared from treated rats. Therefore, we hypothesized that methylphenidate post-treatment might protect against the persistent striatal dopamine deficits caused by methamphetamine by rapidly affecting VMAT-2 and vesicular dopamine content. Results reveal that methylphenidate post-treatment both prevents the persistent dopamine deficits and reverses the acute decreases in vesicular dopamine uptake and VMAT-2 ligand binding caused by methamphetamine treatment. In addition, methylphenidate post-treatment reverses the acute decreases in vesicular dopamine content caused by methamphetamine treatment. Taken together, these findings suggest that methylphenidate prevents persistent methamphetamine-induced dopamine deficits by redistributing vesicles and the associated VMAT-2 protein and presumably affecting dopamine sequestration. These findings not only provide insight into the neurotoxic effects of methamphetamine but also mechanisms underlying dopamine neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson's disease.

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