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Review
, 24 (2), 85-97

The Neurobiological Mechanisms of Physical Exercise in Methamphetamine Addiction

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Review

The Neurobiological Mechanisms of Physical Exercise in Methamphetamine Addiction

António Pedro Delgado Morais et al. CNS Neurosci Ther.

Abstract

Methamphetamine (METH) is the primary drug within amphetamine-type stimulants which are the second most abused group of drugs worldwide. There is no pharmacological treatment addressed specifically to METH addiction, and behavioral therapy is shadowed by poor long-term recovery and relapse. Therefore, novel approaches to manage METH addiction are an urgent need. This review aims to describe the current state of physical exercise use on methamphetamine addiction management. The following searching terms in PubMed were used: ("physical exercise" OR "exercise") AND "methamphetamine." Relevant references from key publications and gray literature were also reviewed to identify additional citations for inclusion. Original investigation regarding physical exercise and methamphetamine addiction (clinical data) or neurobiological mechanisms of physical exercise in animal models of methamphetamine administration (preclinical data) was included. Overall, METH users demonstrated improvements, including better fitness and emotional measures, lower relapse rates, and sustained abstinence when compared to nonexercised individuals. The neurobiological mechanisms of physical exercise in METH users seem to reflect an interplay of several agents, including neurochemicals, oxidative stress, neurogenesis, gliogenesis, and blood-brain barrier as disclosed by preclinical data. Exercise-based interventions alone or as a conjoint therapy may be a useful tool for managing METH addiction.

Keywords: amphetamine-type stimulants; methamphetamine; methamphetamine addiction; physical exercise.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Global seizures of ATS including methamphetamine, amphetamine, and “ecstasy” in 2014. This figure was adapted from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), 2016—World Drug Report 2016
Figure 2
Figure 2
Drugs involved in U.S. overdose deaths, 2000‐2016. Figure adapted from https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
Scheme 1
Scheme 1
Proposed neurobiological mechanisms of physical exercise in methamphetamine users. Physical exercise reverses the neurochemical imbalance, decreases oxidative stress, stabilizes blood‐brain barrier, and corrects alterations in neurogenesis and gliogenesis in METH users

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