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Keywords:

  • chemokines;
  • cytokines;
  • inflammation;
  • methamphetamine;
  • microarray;
  • striatum

Abstract

Methamphetamine is an addictive drug of abuse that can produce neurotoxic effects in dopamine nerve endings of the striatum. The purpose of this study was to identify new genes that may play a role in the highly complex cascade of events associated with methamphetamine intoxication. Using Affymetrix oligonucleotide arrays, 12 488 genes were simultaneously interrogated and there were 152 whose expression levels were changed following methamphetamine treatment. The genes are grouped into broad functional categories with inflammatory/immune response elements, receptor/signal transduction components and ion channel/transport proteins among the most populated. Many genes within these categories can be linked to ion regulation and apoptosis, both of which have been implicated in methamphetamine toxicity, and numerous factors associated with microglial activation emerged with significant changes in expression. For example, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), chemokine (C-C) receptor 6 (CCr6) and numerous chemokine transcripts were increased or decreased in expression more than 2.8-fold. These results point to activated microglia as a potential source of the reactive oxygen/nitrogen species and cytokines that have been previously associated with methamphetamine toxicity and other neurotoxic conditions.