Juvenile exposure to methamphetamine attenuates behavioral and neurochemical responses to methamphetamine in adult rats.
ABSTRACT Previous research has shown that children living in clandestine methamphetamine (MA) labs are passively exposed to the drug . The long-term effects of this early exposure on the dopaminergic systems are unknown, but may be important for adult behaviors mediated by dopamine, such as drug addiction. The current study sought to determine if juvenile exposure to low doses of MA would lead to altered responsiveness to the stimulant in adulthood. Young male and female rats (PD20-34) were injected daily with 0 or 2 mg/kg MA or left undisturbed and then tested at PD90. In the open field, adult rats exposed to MA during preadolescence had reduced locomotor activity compared to control non-exposed rats following an acute injection of MA (2 mg/kg). Likewise, methamphetamine-induced dopamine increases in the dorsal striatum were attenuated in male and female rats that had been exposed to MA as juveniles, although there were no changes in basal in vivo or ex vivo dopamine levels. These findings suggest that exposure of juveniles to MA leads to persistent changes in the behavioral and neurochemical responses to stimulants in adulthood.