Chronic administration of morphine or cocaine affects opioid gene expression. To better understand the possible existence of common neuronal pathways shared by different classes of drugs of abuse, we studied the effects of methamphetamine on the gene expression of the opioid precursor prodynorphin and on the levels of peptide dynorphin A in the rat brain. Acute (6 mg/kg, intraperitoneally, i.p.) and chronic (6 mg/kg, i.p. for 15 days) methamphetamine markedly raised prodynorphin mRNA levels in the hypothalamus, whereas no effect was observed in the hippocampus. Dynorphin A levels increased after chronic treatment in the hypothalamus and in the striatum, whereas no significant changes were detected after acute treatment. These results indicate that methamphetamine affects prodynorphin gene expression in the hypothalamus, which may be an important site (also for its relevant neuroendocrine correlates) for opioidergic mechanisms activated by addictive drugs. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.
- Gene expression
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience