Pharmacological activation of the neurotensin receptor 1 abrogates the methamphetamine-induced striatal apoptosis in the mouse brain.


Methamphetamine (METH) is a widely abused psychostimulant displaying potent addictive and neurotoxic properties. METH induces neurotoxicity of dopaminergic terminals and striatal neurons in the striatum. Despite much information on neurotransmitters, the role of neuropeptides is poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the role of the neuropeptide neurotensin on the METH-induced apoptosis of some striatal neurons in mice. We observed that a single injection of METH (30mg/kg, ip) induced the loss of approximately 15% of striatal neurons. An agonist of the neurotensin receptor 1 (PD149163, ip at various doses) attenuated the METH-induced striatal neuron apoptosis. Utilizing quantitative real time PCR, we showed that METH also up-regulated neurotensin gene expression with 96% increase in preproneurotensin mRNA levels in the striatum as compared to the control. Additionally, NTR1 agonist (ip injection) attenuated hyperthermia at 2h post-METH injection; hyperthermia is a putative and significant component of METH-induced neurotoxicity. To investigate the role of neurotensin without affecting core body temperature, we performed stereotactic injection of PD149163 into the striatum and observed that this compound maintained attenuated the METH-induced apoptosis in the striatum, while leaving core body temperature unaffected. There was no effect of NTR1 agonist on METH-induced dopamine terminal degeneration, as evidenced by tyrosine hydroxylase levels determined by Western blot. These data indicate that the neuropeptide neurotensin modulates the striatal neuronal apoptosis induced by METH through diverse mechanisms that need to be investigated. Furthermore, due to its neuroprotective properties, neurotensin receptor agonists show potential as drug candidates for the treatment of METH abuse and some neurological disorders.

DOI: 10.1016/j.brainres.2017.01.029

Cite this paper

@article{Liu2017PharmacologicalAO, title={Pharmacological activation of the neurotensin receptor 1 abrogates the methamphetamine-induced striatal apoptosis in the mouse brain.}, author={Qingkun Liu and Ariela Hazan and Eddie Grinman and Jesus A. Angulo}, journal={Brain research}, year={2017}, volume={1659}, pages={148-155} }