Methamphetamine (Meth) abuse can result in long-lasting psychosis and dependence. The nucleus accumbens (NAc), which controls psychomotor and reward behaviours, is an important interface between the limbic system and receives convergent projections from dopaminergic and glutamatergic terminals. This study investigated the involvements of dopaminergic and glutamatergic transmission in the development of Meth psychosis and dependence by using tyrosine hydroxylase heterozygous mutant (TH+/-) mice and N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor knockout (NR2A-/-) mice. Repeated treatment with Meth (1Â mg/kg s.c.) for 7Â d in wild-type mice led to the development of behavioural abnormalities such as hyperactivity, sensory motor gating deficits and place preference. Associated with the behavioural changes, repeated treatment with Meth led to protein kinase A activation and phosphorylation of Ca 2+/calmodulin kinase II and cyclic AMP response element binding protein in the NAc. In contrast, TH+/- and NR2A-/- mice displayed neither behavioural abnormalities nor activation of intracellular signalling pathways in the NAc. These results suggest that both dopaminergic and glutamatergic transmission play a crucial role in the development of Meth psychosis and dependence, which are associated with convergent activation of intracellular signalling pathways in the NAc.
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