Effects of acute and chronic methamphetamine administration on cynomolgus monkey hippocampus structure and cellular transcriptome

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Methamphetamine (MA), a psychostimulant abused worldwide, gives rise to neurotoxicity in the hippocampus, resulting in cognitive impairments and hippocampal volume reduction. The cellular and molecular mechanisms associated with hippocampal impairments due to MA remain unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of MA on structural alterations and gene expressions in the hippocampus. We analyzed the pattern of volumetric changes in the hippocampus using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) after acute and chronic administration of MA to cynomolgus macaques. In addition, we performed large-scale transcriptome profiling in the hippocampus using RNA-Seq technology. The hippocampus in response to acute and chronic MA exhibited a significant volumetric atrophy compared with the hippocampus of controls. The genes associated with cytoskeleton organization and phagocytosis were downregulated in the acute MA-treated group compared to the control group. On the other hand, genes associated with synaptic transmission, regulation of neuron differentiation and regulation of neurogenesis were downregulated in the chronic MA-treated group. We confirmed that expression patterns for ADM, BMP4, CHRD, PDYN, UBA1, profilin 2 (PFN2), ENO2 and NSE mRNAs were similar to the results from RNA-Seq based on quantitative RT-PCR. In particular, PFN2 mRNA and protein expression levels, which play important roles in actin cytoskeleton dynamics, were decreased by acute and chronic MA administration. These results not only aid the understanding of cellular and molecular mechanisms regulated by MA in the hippocampus but also suggest basic information aiding biomarker and novel drug development for treating hippocampal impairment caused by MA abuse.HIGHLIGHTSMethamphetamine caused volumetric atrophy in the hippocampus of cynomolgus monkeys.Methamphetamine altered genes related to synaptic plasticity and neurogenesis.Methamphetamine induced alterations of genes related to cytoskeleton organization.Profilin 2 at both mRNA and protein levels was decreased by methamphetamine.

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