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Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 1996 Jun;17(2):155-62.

Cardiac muscle lesions associated with chronic administration of methamphetamine in rats.

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Department of Forensic Medicine, Saga Medical School, Japan.


Cardiovascular complications associated with methamphetamine abuse have increasingly been reported. However, chronic cardiotoxicity of methamphetamine is not experimentally well documented. In this study, methamphetamine (1 mg/kg/day) was subcutaneously injected into 5-week-old male Wistar Kyoto rats (n = 30). Age- and sex-matched Wistar Kyoto rats served as controls (n = 30). After 14 and 56 days, hearts were examined by light and electron microscopy. Foci of myocytic degeneration and necrosis appeared in the sub-endocardial areas on day 14 of methamphetamine exposure. Myocytic degeneration and necrosis became more extensive on day 56. At this stage, myocytolysis, contraction bands, atrophied myocytes, and spotty fibrosis were patchily distributed throughout the myocardium in most of rats treated with methamphetamine. The accompanying ultrastructural features included marked degeneration of cardiac mitochondria with fractured and disrupted cristae, hypercontraction of myofibrils, and loss of myofilament. In contrast, cardiac myocyte lesions were not observed in control rats. These myocardial lesions in rats treated with methamphetamine for 56 days resemble the cardiomyopathy associated with methamphetamine abuse in humans.

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