Dysregulation of D2-mediated dopamine transmission in monkeys after chronic escalating methamphetamine exposure

Stephanie M. Groman, Buyean Lee, Emanuele Seu, Alex S. James, Karen Feiler, Mark A. Mandelkern, Edythe D. London, J. David Jentsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Compulsive drug-seeking and drug-taking are important substance-abuse behaviors that have been linked to alterations in dopaminergic neurotransmission and to impaired inhibitory control. Evidence supports the notions that abnormal D2 receptor-mediated dopamine transmission and inhibitory control may be heritable risk factors for addictions, and that they also reflect drug-induced neuroadaptations. To provide a mechanistic explanation for the drug-induced emergence of inhibitory-control deficits, this study examined how a chronic, escalating-dose regimen of methamphetamine administration affected dopaminergic neurochemistry and cognition in monkeys. DopamineD2-like receptor and dopamine transporter (DAT) availability and reversal-learning performance were measured before and after exposure to methamphetamine (or saline), and brain dopamine levels were assayed at the conclusion of the study. Exposure to methamphetamine reduced dopamine D2-like receptor and DAT availability and produced transient, selective impairments in the reversal of a stimulus-outcome association. Furthermore, individual differences in the change in D2-like receptor availability in the striatum were related to the change in response to positive feedback. These data provide evidence that chronic, escalating-dose methamphetamine administration alters the dopamine system in a manner similar to that observed in methamphetamine-dependent humans. They also implicate alterations in positive-feedback sensitivity associated with D2-like receptor dysfunction as the mechanism by which inhibitory control deficits emerge in stimulant-dependent individuals. Finally, a significant degree of neurochemical and behavioral variation in response to methamphetamine was detected, indicating that individual differences affect the degree to which drugs of abuse alter these processes. Identification of these factors ultimately may assist in the development of individualized treatments for substance dependence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5843-5852
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 25 2012
Externally publishedYes

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