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Neurotox Res. 2010 Jul;18(1):48-58. doi: 10.1007/s12640-009-9106-1. Epub 2009 Sep 4.

Selective vulnerability in striosomes and in the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway after methamphetamine administration : early loss of TH in striosomes after methamphetamine.

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Instituto Cajal, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Avda. Dr. Arce 37, 28002, Madrid, Spain.


Methamphetamine (METH), a commonly abused psychostimulant, causes dopamine neurotoxicity in humans, rodents, and nonhuman primates. This study examined the selective neuroanatomical pattern of dopaminergic neurotoxicity induced by METH in the mouse striatum. We examined the effect of METH on tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and dopamine transporter (DAT) immunoreactivity in the different compartments of the striatum and in the nucleus accumbens. The levels of dopamine and its metabolites, 3,4-dihidroxyphenylacetic acid and homovanillic acid, as well as serotonin (5-HT) and its metabolite, 5-hydroxyindolacetic acid, were also quantified in the striatum. Mice were given three injections of METH (4 mg/kg, i.p.) at 3 h intervals and sacrificed 7 days later. This repeated METH injection induced a hyperthermic response and a decrease in striatal concentrations of dopamine and its metabolites without affecting 5-HT concentrations. In addition, the drug caused a reduction in TH- and DAT-immunoreactivity when compared to saline-treated animals. Interestingly, there was a significantly greater loss of TH- and DAT-immunoreactivity in striosomes than in the matrix. The predominant loss of dopaminergic terminals in the striosomes occurred along the rostrocaudal axis of the striatum. In contrast, METH did not decrease TH- or DAT-immunoreactivity in the nucleus accumbens. These results provide the first evidence that compartments of the mouse striatum, striosomes and matrix, and mesolimbic and nigrostriatal pathways have different vulnerability to METH. This pattern is similar to that observed with other neurotoxins such as MPTP, the most widely used model of Parkinson's disease, in early Huntington's disease and hypoxic/ischemic injury, suggesting that these conditions might share mechanisms of neurotoxicity.

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