Systemic PD149163, a neurotensin receptor 1 agonist, decreases methamphetamine self-administration in DBA/2J mice without causing excessive sedation

PLoS One. 2017 Jul 7;12(7):e0180710. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0180710. eCollection 2017.


Methamphetamine (METH) is a psychostimulant that exhibits significant abuse potential. Although METH addiction is a major health and societal concern, no drug is currently approved for its therapeutic management. METH activates the central dopaminergic "reward" circuitry, and with repeated use increases levels of the neuromodulatory peptide neurotensin in the nucleus accumbens and ventral tegmental area. Previous studies in rats suggest that neurotensin agonism decreases METH self-administration, but these studies did not examine the effect of neurotensin agonism on the pattern of self-administration or open field locomotion. In our studies, we established intravenous METH self-administration in male, DBA/2J mice (fixed ratio 3, 2 hr sessions) and examined the effect of pretreatment with the NTS1 receptor agonist PD149163 on METH self-administration behavior. Locomotion following PD149163 was also measured up to 2 hours after injection on a rotarod and in an open field. Pretreatment with PD149163 (0.05 and 0.10 mg/kg, s.c.) significantly decreased METH self-administration. The pattern of responding suggested that PD149163 decreased motivation to self-administer METH initially in the session with more normal intake in the second hour of access. Voluntary movement in the open-field was significantly decreased by both 0.05 and 0.10 mg/kg (s.c.) PD149163 from 10-120 minutes after injection, but rotarod performance suggested that PD149163 did not cause frank sedation. These results suggest that a systemically delivered NTS1 receptor agonist decreases METH self-administration in mice. The pattern of self-administration suggests that PD149163 may acutely decrease motivation to self-administer METH before the drug is experienced, but cannot rule out that depression of voluntary movement plays a role in the decreased self-administration.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Methamphetamine / toxicity*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • Neurotensin / administration & dosage
  • Neurotensin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Neurotensin / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Neurotensin / metabolism
  • Self Administration / methods*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / physiopathology


  • PD 149163
  • Receptors, Neurotensin
  • Neurotensin
  • Methamphetamine
  • Dopamine