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Curr Neuropharmacol. 2011 Mar;9(1):35-9. doi: 10.2174/157015911795017344.

Long-term protective effects of methamphetamine preconditioning against single-day methamphetamine toxic challenges.

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Molecular Neuropsychiatry Research Branch, Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH, DHHS, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.


Methamphetamine (METH) use is associated with neurotoxic effects which include decreased levels of dopamine (DA), serotonin (5-HT) and their metabolites in the brain. We have shown that escalating METH dosing can protect against METH induced neurotoxicity in rats sacrificed within 24 hours after a toxic METH challenge. The purpose of the current study was to investigate if the protective effects of METH persisted for a long period of time. We also tested if a second challenge with a toxic dose of METH would cause further damage to monoaminergic terminals. Saline-pretreated rats showed significant METH-induced decreases in striatal DA and 5-HT levels in rats sacrificed 2 weeks after the challenge. Rats that received two METH challenges showed no further decreases in striatal DA or 5-HT levels in comparison to the single METH challenge. In contrast, METH-pretreated rats showed significant protection against METH-induced striatal DA and 5-HT depletion. In addition, the METH challenge causes substantial decreases in cortical 5-HT levels which were not further potentiated by a second drug challenge. METH preconditioning provided almost complete protection against METH -induced 5-HT depletion. These results are consistent with the idea that METH pretreatment renders the brain refractory to METH-induced degeneration of brain monoaminergic systems.


Methamphetamine; dopamine; preconditioning.; striatum

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