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Brain Res. 2004 Jul 30;1016(1):90-5.

Effect of antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine on behavioral changes and neurotoxicity in rats after administration of methamphetamine.

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Department of Psychiatry, Chiba University, Graduate School of Medicine, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo, Chiba 260-8670, Japan.


Several lines of evidence suggest that oxidative stress may play a role in the behavioral changes and neurotoxicity in rats after administration of methamphetamine (MAP). N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) is a precursor of glutathione, and it also exerts as an antioxidant. In this study, we investigated the effects of NAC on the behavioral changes (hyperlocomotion and development of sensitization) and neurotoxicity in male Wistar rats after administration of MAP. Pretreatment with NAC (30, 100 or 300 mg/kg, i.p.) attenuated significantly hyperlocomotion in rats induced by a single administration of MAP (2 mg/kg, i.p.), in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, pretreatment with NAC (100 mg/kg, i.p., 15 min before MAP injection, once daily for 5 consecutive days) blocked significantly the development of behavioral sensitization in rats after repeated administration of MAP (2 mg/kg, once daily for 5 consecutive days), whereas the behaviors in rats after repeated administration of NAC plus saline groups were not different from those of control (vehicle plus saline) groups. One week after administration of MAP (7.5 mg/kg x 4, 2-h intervals), levels of dopamine (DA) in rat striatum were significantly decreased as compared with control groups. Pretreatment with NAC (1, 3, 10 or 30 mg/kg, i.p., 30 min before each MAP injection) attenuated significantly the MAP-induced reduction of DA in rat striatum, in a dose-dependent manner. These results suggest that NAC could prevent the behavioral changes (acute hyperlocomotion and development of behavioral sensitization) in rats and neurotoxicity in rat striatum after administration of MAP, and that NAC would be a useful drug for treatment of several symptoms associated with MAP abuse.

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