Autoradiographic evidence for methamphetamine-induced striatal dopaminergic loss in mouse brain: attenuation in CuZn-superoxide dismutase transgenic mice

Brain Res. 1996 Apr 1;714(1-2):95-103. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(95)01502-7.


Methamphetamine (METH) has long-lasting neurotoxic effects on the nigrostriatal dopamine (DA) system of rodents. METH-induced neurotoxicity is thought to involve release of DA in presynaptic DA terminals, which is associated with increased formation of oxygen-based free radicals. We have recently shown that METH-induced striatal DA depletion is attenuated in transgenic (Tg) mice that express the human CuZn-superoxide dismutase (SOD) enzyme. That study did not specifically address the issue of loss of DA terminals. In the present study, we have used receptor autoradiographic studies of [(125)I]RTI-121-labeled DA uptake sites to evaluate the effects of several doses of METH on striatal DA terminals of Non-Tg as well as of heterozygous and homozygous SOD-Tg mice. In Non-Tg mice, METH caused decreases in striatal DA uptake sites in a dose-dependent fashion. The loss of DA terminals was more prominent in the lateral region than in the medial subdivisions of the striatum. In SOD-Tg mice, the loss of DA terminals caused by METH was attenuated in a gene dosage-dependent fashion, with the homozygous mice showing the greatest protection. Female mice were somewhat more resistant than male mice against these deleterious effects of METH. These results provide further evidence for a role of superoxide radicals in the long-term effects of METH. They also suggest the notion of a gender-specific handling of oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects*
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methamphetamine / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism*


  • Methamphetamine
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Dopamine