The emergence of cardiac changes following the self-administration of methamphetamine

Jessica L. Freeling, Lisa M. McFadden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Clinical observations suggest an association between methamphetamine (METH) use and cardiovascular disease, but preclinical studies are lacking. The purpose of the current study was to explore changes in left ventricular function as a potential precursor to cardiovascular disease in a rodent model of METH use. Methods: Male rats were allowed to self-administer either METH or saline for 9 d. On the day following the 4th and 9th self-administration sessions, an echocardiogram was performed to assess left-ventricular parameters under basal conditions and following a low-dose of METH (1 mg/kg). Results: A low challenge dose of METH resulted in subtle but statistically significant changes in cardiac function during the echocardiogram in both the METH and saline self-administering groups. Further, differences in left-ventricular parameters such as stroke volume and heart rate were observed between METH and saline groups following the 9th self-administration session. Finally, supervised machine learning correctly predicted the self-administration group assignment (saline or METH) using cardiac parameters following the 9th self-administration session. Conclusions: The findings of the current study suggest the heart, specifically the left ventricle, is sensitive to METH. Overall, these findings and emerging clinical observations highlight the need for research to investigate the effects of METH use on the heart.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108029
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • Echocardiogram
  • Heart
  • Left ventricle
  • Methamphetamine
  • Self-administration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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