Persistent behavioral and neurochemical sensitization to an acute injection of methamphetamine following unpredictable stress

Leslie Matuszewich, Samantha Carter, Eden M. Anderson, Ross D. Friedman, Lisa M. McFadden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Prior research in humans and animals suggest that exposure to chronic stress alters the response to drugs of abuse, increasing vulnerability to drug addiction. Chronic unpredictable stress (CUS) has been shown to augment the increase of dopamine in the striatum when challenged with high doses of methamphetamine immediately following stress exposure, however it is not known whether this neurochemical stress-sensitization continues after the cessation of the stressors or if behavioral sensitization is also present. Therefore, the current study examined the immediate and delayed effects of CUS on methamphetamine-induced behaviors and striatal dopamine levels. Male rats were exposed to 10 days of CUS and then tested in either an open field box to assess locomotion or underwent in vivo microdialysis to measure striatal dopamine levels immediately following CUS or after a 1-2 week delay. All rats exposed to CUS showed a potentiated locomotor response immediately following an acute injection of 7.5. mg/kg methamphetamine compared to non-stressed control rats. Both groups of CUS rats also showed augmented dopamine release and rectal temperatures following methamphetamine with prolonged increases in the CUS rats tested after a delay. These results suggest that CUS increases the sensitivity of a rat to a single injection of methamphetamine and that the increased sensitivity persists for up to 2 weeks following the last stressor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-313
Number of pages6
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Dopamine
  • Hyperthermia
  • Locomotion
  • Methamphetamine
  • Microdialysis
  • Sensitization
  • Unpredictable stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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