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J Neurosci. 1999 Feb 15;19(4):1484-91.

Dopamine quinone formation and protein modification associated with the striatal neurotoxicity of methamphetamine: evidence against a role for extracellular dopamine.

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Department of Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA.


Methamphetamine-induced toxicity has been shown to require striatal dopamine and to involve mechanisms associated with oxidative stress. Dopamine is a reactive molecule that can oxidize to form free radicals and reactive quinones. Although this has been suggested to contribute to the mechanism of toxicity, the oxidation of dopamine has never been directly measured after methamphetamine exposure. In this study we sought to determine whether methamphetamine-induced toxicity is associated with the oxidation of dopamine by measuring the binding of dopamine quinones to cysteinyl residues on protein. We observed that administration of neurotoxic doses of methamphetamine to rats resulted in a two- to threefold increase in protein cysteinyl-dopamine in the striatum 2, 4, and 8 hr after treatment. When methamphetamine was administered at an ambient temperature of 5 degreesC, no increase in dopamine oxidation products was observed, and toxicity was prevented. Furthermore, as shown by striatal microdialysis, animals treated with methamphetamine at 5 degreesC showed DA release identical to that of animals treated at room temperature. These data suggest that the toxicity of methamphetamine and the associated increase in dopamine oxidation are not exclusively the result of increases in extracellular dopamine. Because dopamine-induced modifications of protein structure and function may result in cellular toxicity, it is likely that dopamine oxidation contributes to methamphetamine-induced toxicity to dopamine terminals, adding support to the role of dopamine and the evidence of oxidative stress in this lesion model.

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