Rationale: Administration of high doses of methamphetamine (METH) in a manner mimicking the binging patterns associated with abuse reduces NT release and causes its accumulation and elevated NT levels in extrapyramidal structures by a D1 mechanism. The relevance of these findings to the therapeutic use of METH needs to be studied. Objectives: The effect of low doses (comparable to that used for therapy) of METH on basal ganglia NT systems was examined and compared to high-dose and self-administration effects previously reported. Methods: Rats were injected four times (2-h intervals) with either saline or low doses of METH (0.25, 0.50, or 1.00 mg/kg/subcutaneously (s.c.)). For the DA antagonist studies, animals were pretreated with a D1 (SCH23390) or D2 (eticlopride) antagonist 15 min prior to METH or saline treatments. Rats were sacrificed 5-48 h after the last injection. Results: METH at doses of 0.25 and 0.50, but not 1.00 mg/kg, rapidly and briefly decreased NTLI concentration in all basal ganglia structures studied. In the posterior dorsal striatum, the reduction in NT level after low-dose METH appeared to be caused principally by D2 stimulation, but both D2 and D1 stimulation were required for the NT responses in the other basal ganglia regions. Conclusions: A novel finding from the present study was that opposite to abuse-mimicking high doses of METH, the therapeutically relevant low-dose METH treatment reduced NT tissue levels likely reflecting an increase in NT release and a short-term depletion of the levels of this neuropeptide in basal ganglia structures. The possible significance is discussed.
- Dopamine antagonists
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