Methamphetamine pretreatment and the vulnerability of the striatum to methamphetamine neurotoxicity

S. Stephans, B. Yamamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Scopus citations


Pretreatment with intermittent low-dose administrations of stimulants increases mesostriatal dopamine transmission upon administration of a challenge dose. This occurs without evidence of a long-term dopamine or serotonin depletion. The purpose was to examine whether pretreatment with low doses of methamphetamine enhances dopamine and/or glutamate efflux and the subsequent depletion of dopamine and serotonin produced by neurotoxic challenge doses of methamphetamine. Microdialysis was used to measure simultaneously extracellular concentrations of dopamine and glutamate in the striatum and prefrontal cortex of awake rats. Basal extracellular concentrations of dopamine and glutamate were unaltered following pretreatment with methamphetamine. The increase in methamphetamine-induced striatal dopamine efflux was not significantly different between methamphetamine and saline pretreated groups. In contrast, after high challenge doses of methamphetamine, dopamine efflux in prefrontal cortex was enhanced to a greater extent in methamphetamine pretreated rats as compared to saline pretreated controls. Acute methamphetamine did not enhance glutamate efflux in prefrontal cortex after pretreatment with saline or methamphetamine. The increase in striatal glutamate efflux was blunted in rats pretreated with methamphetamine. When measured 4 days later, dopamine and serotonin content in striatum was depleted in all rats acutely challenged with methamphetamine. However, these depletions were attenuated in rats pretreated with methamphetamine. An acute methamphetamine challenge did not affect dopamine tissue content in the prefrontal cortex of any rats. Serotonin content in cortex was depleted in all groups following the methamphetamine challenge administration, but these depletions were diminished in methamphetamine-pretreated rats. These results are the first evidence that an intermittent pretreatment regimen with low doses of methamphetamine, followed by a 1 week withdrawal, reduces the vulnerability of striatal dopamine and serotonin terminals and cortical serotonin terminals to methamphetamine neurotoxicity. These findings provide evidence for the mechanism leading to methamphetamine neurotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)593-600
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • dopamine
  • microdialysis
  • prefrontal cortex
  • serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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