Original Investigation


, Volume 198, Issue 3, pp 301-311

First online:

The effects of methamphetamine on core body temperature in the rat—PART 1: chronic treatment and ambient temperature

  • Benita J. MylesAffiliated withDepartment of Pharmacology, University of Mississippi
  • , Lee Ann JarrettAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Mississippi
  • , Susan L. BroomAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Mississippi
  • , H. Anton SpeakerAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Mississippi
  • , Karen E. SabolAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of MississippiDepartment of Pharmacology, University of Mississippi Email author 

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Stimulants such as methamphetamine (METH) alter core temperature in a manner that is dependent on ambient temperature and that shows tolerance after chronic use. Our objectives were to (1) determine whether tolerance to METH-induced hyperthermia was a consequence of neurotoxicity to dopamine or serotonin and (2) determine the relationship between ambient temperature and chronic treatment on the METH-induced temperature response.

Materials and methods

Rats were treated with 1.0, 5.0, or 10.0 mg/kg METH at 24°C (experiment 1) or treated with 5.0 mg/kg METH at 20°C, 24°C, or 28°C (experiment 2). Treatment occurred for 12 days, and temperature measurements were made once per minute telemetrically during 7-h sessions in computer-regulated environments.


Peak increases in core temperature occurred at 60 min post-treatment for the 1.0 and 10.0 mg/kg doses, and at 180 min for the 5.0 mg/kg dose. Tolerance-like effects were seen with chronic 5.0 (mixed results) and 10.0 mg/kg METH in the absence of dopamine or serotonin depletions measured 2 weeks after the completion of treatment. After 5.0 mg/kg METH, variations in ambient temperature resulted in an early flexible change in core temperature (phase 1) (hyperthermia at 28° and hypothermia at 20°) and a later inflexible hyperthermia (phase 2).


The results suggest that (1) the peak effect of different doses of METH occurs at different times (24°), (2) the diminished temperature response with chronic METH treatment was not associated with long-term dopamine and serotonin depletions, and (3) a two-phase temperature response to METH may reflect two independent mechanisms.


Drug abuse Methamphetamine Temperature Rat Tolerance