, Volume 181, Issue 3, pp 467-476
Date: 29 Jun 2005

Effects of subchronic methamphetamine exposure on basal dopamine and stress-induced dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens shell of rats

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Abstract

Rationale

Subchronic administration of stimulants reduces basal dopamine (DA) concentrations and blocks stress-induced DA release in the nucleus accumbens (NA) of rats during withdrawal. However, no studies have attempted to relate early withdrawal from chronic drug exposure to stress reactivity and changes in DA transmission.

Objectives

The effects of subchronic low-dose methamphetamine (METH) administration on regional changes in dopamine transporter (DAT) and norepinephrine transporter (NET) immunoreactivity and function during early withdrawal were examined. The effects of subchronic METH on stress responsivity measured by DA release in the nucleus accumbens shell (NA SHELL) and core (NA CORE) during acute restraint stress were also examined.

Methods

Male rats received single injections of METH (2.0 mg/kg i.p.) or saline (SAL) for 10 days and then were killed 24 h after the last injection. DAT and NET protein in NA, striatum (STR), medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and hippocampus were assayed by Western blot analysis. Experiment 2 measured basal extracellular DA concentrations and restraint-stress-induced DA release in vivo in the NA SHELL and CORE of SAL- and METH-pretreated rats after 24-h withdrawal. Experiment 3 examined the in vivo regulation of extracellular DA in the NA SHELL and/or CORE after local administration of GBR12909 (50 μM) or nisoxetine (100 μM; NA SHELL).

Results

Subchronic METH increased DAT but not NET immunoreactivity in the NA compared to the STR and mPFC. METH reduced basal extracellular DA and blocked restraint-stress-induced DA release in the NA SHELL. DA uptake blockade increased extracellular DA more in the NA SHELL of METH rats, whereas NE uptake blockade increased basal DA concentrations to a similar extent in METH and SAL rats.

Conclusions

These results suggest that subchronic METH exposure selectively increases NA DAT and consequently reduces basal and stress-induced DA release in the NA SHELL during early withdrawal.