Noradrenergic modulation of methamphetamine-induced striatal dopamine depletion

Francesco Formai, Maria Grazia Alessandrì, Maria Tilde Torracca, Lucia Bassi, Vera Scalori, Giovanni Umberto Corsini

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Noradrenergic (NE) neurons belonging to the locus coeruleus (LC), much more than the A1 and A2 NE areas, are lost in Parkinson's disease (PD). In this study, we reproduced the selective pattern of NE loss involving axons arising from the LC using the selective neurotoxin N-(-2-chloroethyl)-N-ethyl-2-bromobenzylamine (DSP-4) (50 mg/kg). In these experimental conditions, we investigated whether NE loss potentiates methamphetamine-induced striatal dopamine (DA) depletion in mice and in rats. Administration of a moderate dose of methamphetamine to C57B1/6N mice or Sprague-Dawley rats produced only a partial striatal DA depletion 7 days after drug administration. Pretreatment with DSP-4, in both animal species, significantly enhanced methamphetamine-induced striatal DA depletion. Administration of a lower dose of methamphetamine did not decrease striatal DA levels when injected alone, but produced a significant decrease in striatal DA when given to DSP-4-pretreated rodents. Moreover, we found that agents reducing the noradrenergic activity (i.e, the alpha-2 agonist clonidine) enhanced, whereas alpha-2 antagonists decreased, methamphetamine toxicity. Enhancement of methamphetamine toxicity did not occur if the noradrenergic lesion was produced 12 hr after methamphetamine administration. By contrast, exacerbation of methamphetamine toxicity in NE-depleted animals was accompanied by increased extracellular DA levels measured with brain dialysis and by a more severe acute DA depletion measured in striatal homogenates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-177
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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