Responses of the rat basal ganglia neurotensin systems to low doses of methamphetamine

Mario E. Alburges, Amanda J. Hoonakker, Nathaniel M. Cordova, Christina M. Robson, Lisa M. McFadden, Amber L. Martin, Glen R. Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Rationale: Administration of high doses of methamphetamine (METH) in a manner mimicking the binging patterns associated with abuse reduces NT release and causes its accumulation and elevated NT levels in extrapyramidal structures by a D1 mechanism. The relevance of these findings to the therapeutic use of METH needs to be studied. Objectives: The effect of low doses (comparable to that used for therapy) of METH on basal ganglia NT systems was examined and compared to high-dose and self-administration effects previously reported. Methods: Rats were injected four times (2-h intervals) with either saline or low doses of METH (0.25, 0.50, or 1.00 mg/kg/subcutaneously (s.c.)). For the DA antagonist studies, animals were pretreated with a D1 (SCH23390) or D2 (eticlopride) antagonist 15 min prior to METH or saline treatments. Rats were sacrificed 5-48 h after the last injection. Results: METH at doses of 0.25 and 0.50, but not 1.00 mg/kg, rapidly and briefly decreased NTLI concentration in all basal ganglia structures studied. In the posterior dorsal striatum, the reduction in NT level after low-dose METH appeared to be caused principally by D2 stimulation, but both D2 and D1 stimulation were required for the NT responses in the other basal ganglia regions. Conclusions: A novel finding from the present study was that opposite to abuse-mimicking high doses of METH, the therapeutically relevant low-dose METH treatment reduced NT tissue levels likely reflecting an increase in NT release and a short-term depletion of the levels of this neuropeptide in basal ganglia structures. The possible significance is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2933-2940
Number of pages8
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Dopamine antagonists
  • Methamphetamine
  • Neurotensin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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