Tamoxifen abolishes estrogen's neuroprotective effect upon methamphetamine neurotoxicity of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system

Neuroscience. 2001;103(2):385-94. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4522(01)00014-8.


The effects of 17beta-estradiol and the anti-estrogen, tamoxifen, on methamphetamine-induced neurotoxicity of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system were examined in ovariectomized CD-1 mice. In Experiment 1, striatal dopamine concentrations from estrogen treated mice were significantly greater than that from non-estrogen treated mice following methamphetamine. Dopamine concentrations from estrogen+tamoxifen+methamphetamine treated mice were decreased compared to estrogen+methamphetamine treated mice and not significantly different from those of tamoxifen+methamphetamine treated mice or mice receiving methamphetamine alone. These results suggest that estrogen is functioning as a neuroprotectant of methamphetamine-induced nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurotoxicity and that this neuroprotective effect of estrogen is abolished in the presence of tamoxifen. In Experiment 2, estrogen administration after methamphetamine treatment did not produce any significant changes in dopamine concentrations compared with methamphetamine treatment alone. The data from Experiment 2 show that estrogen cannot reverse the methamphetamine-induced neurotoxicity upon the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system. Similar results were observed for the potassium-stimulated dopamine outputs from these treatment conditions as evaluated with in vitro superfusion, although a difference between the two measures for the estrogen+methamphetamine treated group was obtained in Experiment 1. These results have important implications for estrogen-tamoxifen interactions upon the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system and the gender differences which are observed in Parkinson's disease and animal models of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurotoxicity as well as for the proposed use of tamoxifen in pre-menopausal women at risk for breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Corpus Striatum / chemistry
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects*
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism
  • Dopamine / analysis
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Estrogen Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Estrogens / blood
  • Estrogens / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Methamphetamine / toxicity*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Ovariectomy
  • Substantia Nigra / chemistry
  • Substantia Nigra / drug effects*
  • Substantia Nigra / metabolism
  • Sympathomimetics / toxicity*
  • Tamoxifen / pharmacology*


  • Estrogen Antagonists
  • Estrogens
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Sympathomimetics
  • Tamoxifen
  • Methamphetamine
  • Dopamine