Sex differences in neurobehavioral consequences of methamphetamine exposure in adult mice

Delaney L. Davis, Daniel B. Metzger, Philip H. Vann, Jessica M. Wong, Kumudu H. Subasinghe, Isabelle K. Garlotte, Nicole R. Phillips, Ritu A. Shetty, Michael J. Forster, Nathalie Sumien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rationale: Recreational and medical use of stimulants is increasing, and their use may increase susceptibility to aging and promote neurobehavioral impairments. The long-term consequences of these psychostimulants and how they interact with age have not been fully studied. Objectives: Our study investigated whether chronic exposure to the prototypical psychostimulant, methamphetamine (METH), at doses designed to emulate human therapeutic dosing, would confer a pro-oxidizing redox shift promoting long-lasting neurobehavioral impairments. Methods: Groups of 4-month-old male and female C57BL/6 J mice were administered non-contingent intraperitoneal injections of either saline or METH (1.4 mg/kg) twice a day for 4 weeks. Mice were randomly assigned to one experimental group: (i) short-term cognitive assessments (at 5 months), (ii) long-term cognitive assessments (at 9.5 months), and (ii) longitudinal motor assessments (at 5, 7, and 9 months). Brain regions were assessed for oxidative stress and markers of neurotoxicity after behavior testing. Results: Chronic METH exposure induced short-term effects on associative memory, gait speed, dopamine (DA) signaling, astrogliosis in females, and spatial learning and memory, balance, DA signaling, and excitotoxicity in males. There were no long-term effects of chronic METH on cognition; however, it decreased markers of excitotoxicity in the striatum and exacerbated age-associated motor impairments in males. Conclusion: In conclusion, cognitive and motor functions were differentially and sex-dependently affected by METH exposure, and oxidative stress did not seem to play a role in the observed behavioral outcomes. Future studies are necessary to continue exploring the long-term neurobehavioral consequences of drug use in both sexes and the relationship between aging and drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2331-2349
Number of pages19
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • Aging
  • Cognition
  • Dopamine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Mice
  • Motor function
  • Oxidative stress
  • Psychostimulants


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