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J Pineal Res. 2012 Nov;53(4):399-409. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-079X.2012.01010.x. Epub 2012 Jun 7.

Genetic deletion of MT(1) and MT(2) melatonin receptors differentially abrogates the development and expression of methamphetamine-induced locomotor sensitization during the day and the night in C3H/HeN mice.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14221, USA.


This study explored the role of the melatonin receptors in methamphetamine (METH)-induced locomotor sensitization during the light and dark phases in C3H/HeN mice with genetic deletion of the MT(1) and/or MT(2) melatonin receptors. Six daily treatments with METH (1.2 mg/kg, i.p.) in a novel environment during the light phase led to the development of locomotor sensitization in wild-type (WT), MT(1)KO and MT(2)KO mice. Following four full days of abstinence, METH challenge (1.2 mg/kg, i.p.) triggered the expression of locomotor sensitization in METH-pretreated but not in vehicle (VEH)-pretreated mice. In MT(1)/MT(2)KO mice, the development of sensitization during the light phase was significantly reduced and the expression of sensitization was completely abrogated upon METH challenge. During the dark phase the development of locomotor sensitization in METH-pretreated WT, MT(1)KO and MT(2)KO mice was statistically different from VEH-treated controls. However, WT and MT(2)KO, but not MT(1)KO mice receiving repeated VEH pretreatments during the dark phase expressed a sensitized response to METH challenge that is of an identical magnitude to that observed upon 6 days of METH pretreatment. We conclude that exposure to a novel environment during the dark phase, but not during the light phase, facilitated the expression of sensitization to a METH challenge in a manner dependent on MT(1) melatonin receptor activation by endogenous melatonin. We suggest that MT(1) and MT(2) melatonin receptors are potential targets for pharmacotherapeutic intervention in METH abusers.

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