, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 71-85

Methamphetamine-induced TNF-α gene expression and activation of AP-1 in discrete regions of mouse brain

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Cellular and molecular mechanisms of methamphetamine (METH)-induced neurotoxicity may involve alterations of cellular redox status and induction of inflammatory genes. To study this hypothesis, molecular signaling pathways of METH-induced inflammatory responses via activation of redox-sensitive transcription factors were investigated in discrete regions (corpus striatum, frontal cortex, and hippocampus) of mouse brain. Intraperitoneal injection of METH at a dose of 10 mg/kg body weight resulted in a significant increase in oxidative stress, as measured by 2,7-dichlorofluorescein (DCF) fluorescence assay, thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS), and total glutathione levels. Glutathione peroxidase activity was also significantly increased after METH exposure. In addition, DNA binding activity of activator protein-1 (AP-1), a redox-responsive transcription factor, was increased in all studied brain regions in response to METH treatment. Because AP-1 is known to regulate expression of inflammatory genes, levels of TNF-α mRNA were also studied. Expression of the tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) gene was induced 3 h after METH injection and remained elevated for up to 6h of METH exposure. In addition, stimulation of the TNF-α gene was associated with increased TNF-α protein production in the frontal cortex. These results suggest that METH-induced disturbances in cellular redox status and that activation of AP-1 can play a critical role in signaling pathways leading to upregulation of inflammatory genes in vivo. Furthermore, these data provide evidence for the role of oxidative stress in the neurotoxic effects of METH.