Proteomic Analysis Reveals the Neurotoxic Effects of Chronic Methamphetamine Self-Administration-Induced Cognitive Impairments and the Role of Melatonin-Enhanced Restorative Process during Methamphetamine Withdrawal

J Proteome Res. 2023 Oct 6;22(10):3348-3359. doi: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.3c00502. Epub 2023 Sep 7.


Cognitive flexibility is a crucial ability in humans that can be affected by chronic methamphetamine (METH) addiction. The present study aimed to elucidate the mechanisms underlying cognitive impairment in mice chronically administered METH via an oral self-administration method. Further, the effect of melatonin treatment on recovery of METH-induced cognitive impairment was also investigated. Cognitive performance of the mice was assessed using an attentional set shift task (ASST), and possible underlying neurotoxic mechanisms were investigated by proteomic and western blot analysis of the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The results showed that mice-administered METH for 21 consecutive days exhibited poor cognitive performance compared to controls. Cognitive deficit in mice partly recovered after METH withdrawal. In addition, mice treated with melatonin during METH withdrawal showed a higher cognitive recovery than vehicle-treated METH withdrawal mice. Proteomic and western blot analysis revealed that METH self-administration increased neurotoxic markers, including disruption to the regulation of mitochondrial function, mitophagy, and decreased synaptic plasticity. Treatment with melatonin during withdrawal restored METH-induced mitochondria and synaptic impairments. These findings suggest that METH-induced neurotoxicity partly depends on mitochondrial dysfunction leading to autophagy-dependent cell death and that the recovery of neurological impairments may be enhanced by melatonin treatment during the withdrawal period.

Keywords: cognitive function; drug addiction; melatonin; methamphetamine; mitochondria; mitophagy; neurodegeneration; neuroplasticity; neurotoxicity; proteomics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Melatonin* / pharmacology
  • Methamphetamine* / toxicity
  • Mice
  • Proteomics
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome*


  • Methamphetamine
  • Melatonin