Sensitivity to psychostimulants in mice bred for high and low stimulation to methamphetamine

H. M. Kamens, S. Burkhart-Kasch, C. S. McKinnon, N. Li, C. Reed, T. J. Phillips

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67 Scopus citations


Methamphetamine (MA) and cocaine induce behavioral effects primarily through modulation of dopamine neurotransmission. However, the genetic regulation of sensitivity to these two drugs may be similar or disparate. Using selective breeding, lines of mice were produced with extreme sensitivity (high MA activation; HMACT) and insensitivity (low MA activation; LMACT) to the locomotor stimulant effects of acute MA treatment. Studies were performed to determine whether there is pleiotropic genetic influence on sensitivity to the locomotor stimulant effect of MA and to other MA- and cocaine-related behaviors. The HMACT line exhibited more locomotor stimulation in response to several doses of MA and cocaine, compared to the LMACT line. Both lines exhibited locomotor sensitization to 2 mg/kg of MA and 10 mg/kg of cocaine; the magnitude of sensitization was similar in the two lines. However, the lines differed in the magnitude of sensitization to a 1 mg/kg dose of MA, a dose that did not produce a ceiling effect that may confound interpretation of studies using higher doses. The LMACT line consumed more MA and cocaine in a two-bottle choice drinking paradigm; the lines consumed similar amounts of saccharin and quinine, although the HMACT line exhibited slightly elevated preference for a low concentration of saccharin. These results suggest that some genes that influence sensitivity to the acute locomotor stimulant effect of MA have a pleiotropic influence on the magnitude of behavioral sensitization to MA and sensitivity to the stimulant effects of cocaine. Further, extreme sensitivity to MA may protect against MA and cocaine self-administration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-125
Number of pages16
JournalGenes, Brain and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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