The Effects of Eating a High Fat Diet on Sensitivity of Male and Female Rats to Methamphetamine and Dopamine D1 Receptor Agonist SKF 82958

J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2020 Jul;374(1):6-15. doi: 10.1124/jpet.119.263293. Epub 2020 Apr 7.


Rats eating high fat chow are more sensitive to the behavioral effects of dopaminergic drugs, including methamphetamine and the dopamine D2/D3 receptor agonist quinpirole, than rats eating standard chow. However, limited work has explored possible sex differences regarding the impact of diet on drug sensitivity. It is also unknown whether eating high fat chow enhances sensitivity of rats to other dopamine (e.g., D1) receptor agonists. To explore these possibilities, male and female Sprague-Dawley rats eating standard laboratory chow (17% kcal from fat) or high fat chow (60% kcal from fat) were tested once per week for 6 weeks with dopamine D1 receptor agonist SKF 82958 (0.01-3.2 mg/kg) or methamphetamine (0.1-3.2 mg/kg) using cumulative dosing procedures. Eating high fat chow increased sensitivity of male and female rats to methamphetamine-induced locomotion; however, only female rats eating high fat chow were more sensitive to SKF 82958-induced locomotion. SKF 82958-induced eye blinking was also marginally, although not significantly, enhanced among female rats eating high fat chow, but not males. Further, although dopamine D2 receptor expression was significantly increased for SKF 82958-treated rats eating high fat chow regardless of sex, no differences were observed in dopamine D1 receptor expression. Taken together, the present study suggests that although eating high fat chow enhances sensitivity of both sexes to dopaminergic drugs, the mechanism driving this effect might be different for males versus females. These data further demonstrate the importance of studying both sexes simultaneously when investigating factors that influence drug sensitivity. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: Although it is known that diet can impact sensitivity to some dopaminergic drugs, sex differences regarding this effect are not well characterized. This report demonstrates that eating a high fat diet enhances sensitivity to methamphetamine, regardless of sex; however, sensitivity to dopamine D1 receptor agonist SKF 82958 is increased only among females eating high fat chow, but not males. This suggests that the mechanism(s) driving diet-induced changes in drug sensitivity might be different between sexes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzazepines / pharmacology*
  • Blinking / drug effects
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Locomotion / drug effects
  • Male
  • Methamphetamine / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1 / agonists*
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1 / metabolism
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / metabolism


  • Benzazepines
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • Methamphetamine
  • SK&F 82958