Pseudoginsenoside-F11 inhibits methamphetamine-induced behaviors by regulating dopaminergic and GABAergic neurons in the nucleus accumbens

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2016 Mar;233(5):831-40. doi: 10.1007/s00213-015-4159-8. Epub 2015 Dec 1.


Rationale: Although dependence to methamphetamine (METH) is associated with serious psychiatric symptoms and is a global health and social problem, no effective therapeutic approaches have been identified. Pseudoginsenoside-F11 (PF11) is an ocotillol-type saponin that is isolated from Panax quinquefolius (American ginseng) and was shown to have neuroprotective effects to promote learning and memory and to antagonize the pharmacological effects of morphine. Furthermore, PF11 also shows protective effects against METH-induced neurotoxicity in mice. However, the effects of PF11 on METH-induced preference and dopamine (DA) release have not been defined.

Objectives: We investigated the effects of PF11 administration on METH-induced hyperlocomotion and conditioned place preference (CPP) in mice. Subsequently, extracellular DA and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels were determined in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) of mice after co-administration of PF11 and METH using in vivo microdialysis analyses. Moreover, the effects of PF11 administration on the μ-opioid neuronal responses, DAMGO (μ-opioid receptor agonist; [D-Ala(2), N-MePhe(4), Gly-ol]-enkephalin)-induced hyperlocomotion and accumbal extracellular DA increase were investigated to elucidate how PF11 inhibits METH-induced dependence by dopaminergic neuronal hyperfunction.

Results: Co-administration of PF11 and METH for 6 days attenuated METH-induced locomotor sensitization compared with treatment with METH alone. In the CPP test, PF11 administration also inhibited METH-induced place preference. In vivo microdialysis analyses indicated that co-administration of PF11 and METH for 7 days prevented METH-induced extracellular DA increase in the NAc and repeated PF11 administration with or without METH for 7 days increased extracellular GABA levels in the NAc, whereas single administration of PF11 did not. Furthermore, DAMGO-induced hyperlocomotion and accumbal extracellular DA increase were significantly inhibited by acute PF11 administration.

Conclusions: The present data suggest that PF11 inhibits METH-induced hyperlocomotion, preference, and accumbal extracellular DA increase by regulating GABAergic neurons and μ-opioid receptors.

Keywords: Dopamine; GABA; Methamphetamine; Microdialysis; Nucleus accumbens; Pseudoginsenoside-F11; μ-opioid receptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Conditioning, Operant / drug effects
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Dopaminergic Neurons / drug effects*
  • Enkephalin, Ala(2)-MePhe(4)-Gly(5)- / pharmacology
  • Ginsenosides / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Methamphetamine / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Methamphetamine / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / cytology
  • Nucleus Accumbens / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Opioid, mu / drug effects
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / physiology*


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors
  • Ginsenosides
  • Receptors, Opioid, mu
  • pseudoginsenoside F11
  • Enkephalin, Ala(2)-MePhe(4)-Gly(5)-
  • Methamphetamine
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Dopamine