Oxidative stress status in recently abstinent methamphetamine abusers
Correspondence: Hsing-Cheng Liu, MD, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Taipei City Psychiatric Center, Taipei City Hospital, 309 Song-De Road, Xing-Yi District, Taipei 100, Taiwan. Email: email@example.com
Methamphetamine (METH) administration is associated with excessive oxidative stress. It is not known whether the systemic oxidative stress indices would alter during early abstinence in METH abusers with positive urine testing for recent METH exposure.
Sixty-four non-treatment-seeking METH abusers enrolled from a controlled environment and 60 healthy controls participated in the study. Fasting serum malondialdehyde (MDA) levels and anti-oxidant indices, including superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) activity, and glutathione (GSH) levels, were measured at baseline and 2 weeks after the first measurement. We compared the differences of these oxidative stress indices between METH abusers and controls and examined the changes of the indices 2 weeks after baseline in the METH group.
At baseline, the recently abstinent METH abusers had significantly higher MDA levels, lower SOD activity, and higher CAT activity and GSH levels compared to healthy controls. CAT and GSH values were positively correlated with MDA but negatively correlated with SOD. These oxidative stress indices did not significantly correlate with age, smoking amount, Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test scores, or METH use variables. After 2 more weeks of abstinence, the indices did not alter nor normalize.
Compared to controls, we found that METH abusers have persistently higher systemic oxidative stress throughout early abstinence. The compromised SOD as well as elevated CAT activity and GSH levels may act together as a compensatory mechanism to counteract excessive oxidative stress induced by METH. Whether the oxidative stress could improve after a longer period of abstinence needs to be examined in future studies.