Escalating dose methamphetamine pretreatment alters the behavioral and neurochemical profiles associated with exposure to a high-dose methamphetamine binge.

Neuropsychopharmacology

PubMedID: 12865898

Segal DS, Kuczenski R, O'Neil ML, Melega WP, Cho AK. Escalating dose methamphetamine pretreatment alters the behavioral and neurochemical profiles associated with exposure to a high-dose methamphetamine binge. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2003;28(10):1730-40.
The neurotoxic effects of methamphetamine (METH) have been characterized primarily from the study of high-dose binge regimens in rodents. However, this drug administration paradigm does not include a potentially important feature of stimulant abuse in humans, that is, the gradual escalation of stimulant doses that frequently occurs prior to high-dose exposure. We have argued that pretreatment with escalating doses (EDs) might significantly alter the neurotoxic profile produced by a single high-dose binge. In the present study, we tested this hypothesis by pretreating rats with saline or gradually increasing doses of METH (0.1-4.0 mg/kg over 14 days), prior to an acute METH binge (4 x 6 mg/kg at 2 h intervals). These animals, whose behavior was continuously monitored throughout drug treatment, were then killed 3 days later for determination of caudate-putamen dopamine (DA) content, levels of [(3)H]WIN 35,428 binding to the DA transporter, and levels of [(3)H]dihydrotetrabenazine ([(3)H]DTBZ) binding to the vesicular monoamine transporter. ED pretreatment markedly attenuated the stereotypy response, as well as the hyperthermia and indices of sympathetic activation associated with the acute binge. In addition, ED pretreatment prevented the decline in [(3)H]WIN 35,428 binding, and significantly diminished the decrease in DA levels, but did not affect the decrease in [(3)H]DTBZ binding associated with the acute binge. We suggest that further study of the effects produced by a regimen which includes a gradual escalation of doses prior to high-dose METH binge exposure could more accurately identify the neurochemical and behavioral changes relevant to those that occur as a consequence of high-dose METH abuse in humans.