Sensitivity to psychostimulants in mice bred for high and low stimulation to methamphetamine

Genes Brain Behav. 2005 Mar;4(2):110-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-183X.2004.00101.x.


Methamphetamine (MA) and cocaine induce behavioral effects primarily through modulation of dopamine neurotransmission. However, the genetic regulation of sensitivity to these two drugs may be similar or disparate. Using selective breeding, lines of mice were produced with extreme sensitivity (high MA activation; HMACT) and insensitivity (low MA activation; LMACT) to the locomotor stimulant effects of acute MA treatment. Studies were performed to determine whether there is pleiotropic genetic influence on sensitivity to the locomotor stimulant effect of MA and to other MA- and cocaine-related behaviors. The HMACT line exhibited more locomotor stimulation in response to several doses of MA and cocaine, compared to the LMACT line. Both lines exhibited locomotor sensitization to 2 mg/kg of MA and 10 mg/kg of cocaine; the magnitude of sensitization was similar in the two lines. However, the lines differed in the magnitude of sensitization to a 1 mg/kg dose of MA, a dose that did not produce a ceiling effect that may confound interpretation of studies using higher doses. The LMACT line consumed more MA and cocaine in a two-bottle choice drinking paradigm; the lines consumed similar amounts of saccharin and quinine, although the HMACT line exhibited slightly elevated preference for a low concentration of saccharin. These results suggest that some genes that influence sensitivity to the acute locomotor stimulant effect of MA have a pleiotropic influence on the magnitude of behavioral sensitization to MA and sensitivity to the stimulant effects of cocaine. Further, extreme sensitivity to MA may protect against MA and cocaine self-administration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Breeding
  • Cocaine / pharmacology
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / genetics
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Drug Resistance / genetics*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Methamphetamine / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Self Administration


  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors
  • Methamphetamine
  • Cocaine