Repeated exposure to methamphetamine (METH) can cause severe neurotoxicity to the cortical neurons. In the present study, we investigated the effect of METH on cognitive function deficits, and determined the neuroprotective effects of memantine (MEM) on memory impairment induced by METH. The protein levels of Bcl-2 and cleaved caspase-3 in prefrontal cortex (PFC) were further examined to exploring the underlying mechanism. We found that repeated METH administration impaired long term (24h) memory retention without affecting short term (5min) memory retention. Co-administration of MEM with METH before training session significantly improved METH-induced cognitive function. METH significantly decreased expression level of Bcl-2 and increased expression level of cleaved caspase-3 in the PFC. The changes can be prevented by MEM pretreatment. Thus, these results demonstrated that MEM pretreatment reversed METH-induced changes of protein levels of apoptotic-related gene, and produced protective effects against METH-induced cognitive deficits, suggesting the effectiveness of MEM may be due to its anti-apoptotic activity.
Keywords: Apoptosis; Cognitive deficits; Memantine; Methamphetamine; Prefrontal cortex.
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