Methamphetamine induces neuronal death: Evidence from rodent studies

Sabrini, Sabrini and Russell, Bruce and Wang, Grace ORCID: and Lin, Joanne and Kirk, Ian and Curley, Louise (2020) Methamphetamine induces neuronal death: Evidence from rodent studies. NeuroToxicology, 77. pp. 20-28. ISSN 0161-813X


Animal studies have consistently observed neuronal death following methamphetamine (MA) administration, however, these have not been systematically reviewed. This systematic review aims to present the evidence for MA-induced neuronal death in animals (rodents) and identify the regions affected. Locating the brain regions in which neuronal death occurs in animal studies will provide valuable insight into the linkage between MA consumption and the structural alterations observed in the human brain. The data were collected from three databases: Scopus, Ovid, and the Web of Science. Thirty-seven studies met the inclusion criteria and were divided into two sub-groups, i.e. acute and repeated administration. Twenty-six (of 27) acute and ten (of 11) repeated administration studies observed neuronal death. A meta-analysis was not possible due to different variables between studies, i.e. species, treatment regimens, withdrawal periods, methods of quantification, and regions studied. Acute MA treatment induced neuronal death in the frontal cortex, striatum, and substantia nigra, but not in the hippocampus, whereas repeated MA administration led to neuronal loss in the hippocampus, frontal cortex, and striatum. In addition, when animals self-administered the drug, neuronal death was observed at much lower doses than the doses administered by experimenters. There is some overlap in the regions where neuronal death occurred in animals and the identified regions from human studies. For instance, gray matter deficits have been observed in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus of MA users. The findings presented in this review implicate that not only does MA induce neuronal death in animals, but it also damages the same regions affected in human users. Despite the inter-species differences, animal studies have contributed significantly to addiction research, and are still of great assistance for future research with a more relevant model of compulsive drug use in humans.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 16 May 2022 03:53
Last Modified: 31 May 2022 04:02
Uncontrolled Keywords: Apoptosis; Cell death; Frontal cortex; Hippocampus; Methamphetamine; Neuronal loss; Neurotoxicity; Self-administration; Striatum
Fields of Research (2020): 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5202 Biological psychology > 520205 Psychopharmacology
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 20 HEALTH > 2001 Clinical health > 200101 Diagnosis of human diseases and conditions
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