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Keywords:

  • Amphetamine;
  • dopamine;
  • drugs of abuse;
  • glucocorticoids;
  • neurotoxicity

ABSTRACT

Aims  Methamphetamine is an amphetamine derivative that is abused increasingly world-wide at an alarming rate over the last decade. Pre-clinical and human studies have shown that methamphetamine is neurotoxic to brain dopamine and serotonin. Other lines of study indicate that stress enhances the vulnerability to drug abuse. The purpose of this review is to shed light on the biochemical similarities between methamphetamine and stress in an effort to highlight the possibility that prior exposure to stress may interact with methamphetamine to exacerbate neurotoxicity.

Methods  A review of the literature on methamphetamine and stress was conducted that focused on the common neurotoxic and biochemical consequences of methamphetamine administration and stress exposure.

Results  Experimental findings of a large number of studies suggest that there are parallels between stress and methamphetamine with regard to their ability to increase glutamate release, produce a metabolic compromise and cause oxidative damage.

Conclusion  A combination of methamphetamine administration and stress can act synergistically and/or additively to cause or augment toxicity in brain regions such as striatum and hippocampus.