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Maturitas. 2019 Mar;121:13-21. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2018.12.003. Epub 2018 Dec 5.

Methamphetamine and its immune-modulating effects.

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Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.
Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia; Department of Medicine, The University of Melbourne, Regenerative Medicine and StemCells Program, Australian Institute of Musculoskeletal Science (AIMSS), Melbourne, VIC, Australia. Electronic address:
Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia. Electronic address:


The recreational use of methamphetamine (METH, or ice) is a global burden. It pervades and plagues contemporary society; it has been estimated that there are up to 35 million users worldwide. METH is a highly addictive psychotropic compound which acts on the central nervous system, and chronic use can induce psychotic behavior. METH has the capacity to modulate immune cells, giving the drug long-term effects which may manifest as neuropsychiatric disorders, and that increase susceptibility to communicable diseases, such as HIV. In addition, changes to the cytokine balance have been associated with compromise of the blood-brain barrier, resulting to alterations to brain plasticity, creating lasting neurotoxicity. Immune-related signaling pathways are key to further evaluating how METH impacts host immunity through these neurological and peripheral modifications. Combining this knowledge with current data on inflammatory responses will improve understanding of how the adaptive and innate immunity responds to METH, how this can activate premature-ageing processes and how METH exacerbates disturbances that lead to non-communicable age-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, depression and dementia.


Drug addiction; Ice; Inflammation; METH; Methamphetamine; Signaling pathways

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