Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Mol Pharmacol. 2006 Dec;70(6):2064-74. Epub 2006 Sep 1.

Methamphetamine-induced sensitization differentially alters pCREB and DeltaFosB throughout the limbic circuit of the mammalian brain.

Author information

Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Loyola University Chicago Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois, USA.


Enhancements in behavior that accompany repeated, intermittent administration of abused drugs (sensitization) endure long after drug administration has ceased. Such persistence reflects changes in intracellular signaling cascades and associated gene transcription factors in brain regions that are engaged by abused drugs. This process is not characterized for the most potent psychomotor stimulant, methamphetamine. Using motor behavior as an index of brain state in rats, we verified that five once-daily injections of 2.5 mg/kg methamphetamine induced behavioral sensitization that was demonstrated (expressed) 3 and 14 days later. Using immunoblot procedures, limbic brain regions implicated in behavioral sensitization were assayed for extracellular signal-regulated kinase and its phosphorylated form (pERK/ERK, a signal transduction kinase), cAMP response element binding protein and its phosphorylated form (pCREB/CREB, a constitutively expressed transcriptional regulator), and DeltaFosB (a long-lasting transcription factor). pERK, ERK, and CREB levels were not changed for any region assayed. In the ventral tegmental area, pCREB and DeltaFosB also were not changed. pCREB (activated CREB) was elevated in the frontal cortex at 3 days withdrawal, but not at 14 days. pCREB levels were decreased at 14 days withdrawal in the nucleus accumbens and ventral pallidum. Accumbal and pallidal levels of DeltaFosB were increased at 3 days withdrawal, and this increase persisted to 14 days in the pallidum. Thus, only the ventral pallidum showed changes in molecular processes that consistently correlated with motor sensitization, revealing that this region may be associated with this enduring behavioral phenotype initiated by methamphetamine. The present findings expand our understanding of the neuroanatomical and molecular substrates that may play a role in the persistence of druginduced sensitization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center