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.
- Motor function
- Oxidative stress