Repeated amphetamine treatment induces neurite outgrowth and enhanced amphetamine-stimulated dopamine release in rat pheochromocytoma cells (PC12 cells) via a protein kinase C- and mitogen activated protein kinase-dependent mechanism


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Margaret E. Gnegy, Department of Pharmacology, 2220 MSRB III, University of Michigan School of Medicine, 1150 W. Medical Center, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0632, USA. E-mail:


Repeated intermittent treatment with amphetamine (AMPH) induces both neurite outgrowth and enhanced AMPH-stimulated dopamine (DA) release in PC12 cells. We investigated the role of protein kinases in the induction of these AMPH-mediated events by using inhibitors of protein kinase C (PKC), mitogen activated protein kinase (MAP kinase) or protein kinase A (PKA). PKC inhibitors chelerythrine (100 nm and 300 nm), Ro31-8220 (300 nm) and the MAP kinase kinase inhibitor, PD98059 (30 µm) inhibited the ability of AMPH to elicit both neurite outgrowth and the enhanced AMPH-stimulated DA release. The direct-acting PKC activator, 12-O-tetradecanoyl phorbol 13-acetate (TPA, 250 nm) mimicked the ability of AMPH to elicit neurite outgrowth and enhanced DA release. On the contrary, a selective PKA inhibitor, 100 µm Rp-8-Br-cAMPS, blocked only the development of AMPH-stimulated DA release but not the neurite outgrowth. Treatment of the cells with acute AMPH elicited an increase in the activity of PKC and MAP kinase but not PKA. These results demonstrated that AMPH-induced increases in MAP kinase and PKC are important for induction of both the enhancement in transporter-mediated DA release and neurite outgrowth but PKA was only required for the enhancement in AMPH-stimulated DA release. Therefore the mechanisms by which AMPH induces neurite outgrowth and the enhancement in AMPH-stimulated DA release can be differentiated.