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Forensic Sci Int. 1995 Aug 28;75(1):29-43.

Cardiac lesions and their reversibility after long term administration of methamphetamine.

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Department of Legal Medicine, Osaka University Medical School, Japan.


In order to clarify the effect of methamphetamine (MA) on myocardium, histological, immunohistochemical and electron microscopic changes in the myocardium of rats were examined following daily intraperitoneal administration of MA at a dose of 1 mg per kg body weight for 4, 8, and 12 weeks before sacrifice. Normal saline (NS) was similarly injected for the same period before sacrifice to constitute a control group. Light microscopic changes found in the myocardium of the MA-treated group included atrophy, hypertrophy, patchy cellular infiltration, eosinophilic degeneration and disarray, edema myolysis, fibrosis, and the appearance of vacuoles. Ultrastructurally, nuclei and normal mitochondria had various shapes and there were dilated T tubules and sarcoplasmic reticulum, the accumulation of glycogen granules and fat droplets. Intra- and extra-cellular edema and intramyocytic vacuoles were often found. Withdrawal of MA at the twelfth week in another group of rats evidenced gradual recovery of the myocardial changes, commencing at 3 weeks after withdrawal. Optimism is therefore generated about the possibility of the affected hearts in MA-abuse patients returning towards the normal state if they give up the drug.

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