Effects of methamphetamine exposure on anxiety-like behavior in the open field test, corticosterone, and hippocampal tyrosine hydroxylase in adolescent and adult mice


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Abstract

Methamphetamine (MA) is a psychomotor stimulant drug that can alter behavior, the stress response system, and the dopaminergic system. The effects of MA can be modulated by age, however relatively little research has examined the acute effects of MA in adolescents and how the effects compare to those found in adults. The hippocampal dopamine system is altered by MA exposure and can modulate anxiety-like behavior, but the effects of MA on the hippocampal dopamine system have not been well studied, especially in adolescent animals. In order to assess potential age differences in the effects of MA exposure, this research examined the effects of acute MA exposure on locomotor and anxiety-like behavior in the open field test, plasma corticosterone levels, and hippocampal total tyrosine hydroxylase and phosphorylated tyrosine hydroxylase levels in adolescent and adult male C57BL/6 J mice. Tyrosine hydroxylase is the rate limiting enzyme in the synthesis of dopamine and was used as a marker of the hippocampal dopaminergic system. Mice were exposed to saline or 4 mg/kg MA and locomotor and anxiety-like behavior were measured in the open field test. Serum and brains were collected immediately after testing and plasma corticosterone and hippocampal total tyrosine hydroxylase and phosphorylated tyrosine hydroxylase levels measured. MA-exposed mice showed increased locomotor activity and anxiety-like behavior in the open field test compared with saline controls, regardless of age. There was no effect of MA on plasma corticosterone levels or hippocampal total tyrosine hydroxylase or phosphorylated tyrosine hydroxylase levels in either adolescent or adult mice. These data suggest that acute MA exposure during adolescence and adulthood increases locomotor activity and anxiety-like behavior but does not alter plasma corticosterone levels or hippocampal total tyrosine hydroxylase or phosphorylated tyrosine hydroxylase levels, and that these effects are not modulated by age.

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