Neonatal brain inflammation enhances methamphetamine-induced reinstated behavioral sensitization in adult rats analyzed with explainable machine learning

Neurochem Int. 2024 Jun:176:105743. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2024.105743. Epub 2024 Apr 17.


Neonatal brain inflammation produced by intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) results in long-lasting brain dopaminergic injury and motor disturbances in adult rats. The goal of the present work is to investigate the effect of neonatal systemic LPS exposure (1 or 2 mg/kg, i.p. injection in postnatal day 5, P5, male rats)-induced dopaminergic injury to examine methamphetamine (METH)-induced behavioral sensitization as an indicator of drug addiction. On P70, subjects underwent a treatment schedule of 5 once daily subcutaneous (s.c.) administrations of METH (0.5 mg/kg) (P70-P74) to induce behavioral sensitization. Ninety-six hours following the 5th treatment of METH (P78), the rats received one dose of 0.5 mg/kg METH (s.c.) to reintroduce behavioral sensitization. Hyperlocomotion is a critical index caused by drug abuse, and METH administration has been shown to produce remarkable locomotor-enhancing effects. Therefore, a random forest model was used as the detector to extract the feature interaction patterns among the collected high-dimensional locomotor data. Our approaches identified neonatal systemic LPS exposure dose and METH-treated dates as features significantly associated with METH-induced behavioral sensitization, reinstated behavioral sensitization, and perinatal inflammation in this experimental model of drug addiction. Overall, the analysis suggests that the implementation of machine learning strategies is sensitive enough to detect interaction patterns in locomotor activity. Neonatal LPS exposure also enhanced METH-induced reduction of dopamine transporter expression and [3H]dopamine uptake, reduced mitochondrial complex I activity, and elevated interleukin-1β and cyclooxygenase-2 concentrations in the P78 rat striatum. These results indicate that neonatal systemic LPS exposure produces a persistent dopaminergic lesion leading to a long-lasting change in the brain reward system as indicated by the enhanced METH-induced behavioral sensitization and reinstated behavioral sensitization later in life. These findings indicate that early-life brain inflammation may enhance susceptibility to drug addiction development later in life, which provides new insights for developing potential therapeutic treatments for drug addiction.

Keywords: Behavioral sensitization; Dopamine transporter; Explainable machine learning; High-dimensional data analysis; Lipopolysaccharide; Methamphetamine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn*
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology
  • Encephalitis / chemically induced
  • Encephalitis / metabolism
  • Female
  • Lipopolysaccharides* / toxicity
  • Locomotion / drug effects
  • Locomotion / physiology
  • Machine Learning*
  • Male
  • Methamphetamine* / pharmacology
  • Methamphetamine* / toxicity
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Neuroinflammatory Diseases / chemically induced
  • Neuroinflammatory Diseases / drug therapy
  • Neuroinflammatory Diseases / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Methamphetamine
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants