News

Dr. Jessica Siegel: Methamphetamine exposure during brain development

Journal-of-Neurochem-book coverJessica Siegel, Assistant Professor of Psychology, and two colleagues at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) studied the impact of Methamphetamine during brain development on the brain acetylcholine system in adolescent and adult mice.  [The Journal of Neurochemistry selected an illustration from their article for its cover.]

Children exposed to methamphetamine during brain development as a result of maternal drug use have long-term hippocampus-dependent cognitive impairments, but the mechanisms underlying these impairments are not understood.  The acetylcholine system plays an important role in cognitive function and potential methamphetamine-induced acetylcholine alterations may be related to methamphetamine-induced cognitive impairments.  In this study, we investigated the potential long-term effects of methamphetamine exposure during hippocampal development on the acetylcholine system in adolescence mice on postnatal day 30 and in adult mice on postnatal day 90.  Methamphetamine exposure increased the density of acetylcholine neurons in regions of the basal forebrain and the area occupied by acetylcholine axons in the hippocampus in adolescent female mice.  In contrast, methamphetamine exposure did not affect the density of GABA cells or total neurons in the basal forebrain.  Methamphetamine exposure also increased the number of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors in the hippocampus of adolescent male and female mice.  Our results demonstrate for the first time that methamphetamine exposure during hippocampal development affects the acetylcholine system in adolescent mice and that these changes are more profound in females than males.

Siegel, J.A.;  Park, B.S.;  & Raber, J.  (2011, October).  Methamphetamine exposure during brain development alters the brain acetylcholine system in adolescent miceJournal of Neurochemistry, 119(1), 89-99.

Jacob Raber, Ph.D., is a Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience and of Neurology at OHSU and an Investigator in its Methamphetamine Abuse Research Center (MARC).  Jessica Siegel received her Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience from OHSU in 2011.

The research was supported by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH, US Dept. of Health & Human Services) and from OHSU's MARC, and by Dr. Raber's development funds.

Earlier research includes  Siegel, J.A.;  Craytor, M.J.;  & Raber, J.  (2010, October).  Long-term effects of methamphetamine exposure on cognitive function and muscarinic acetylcholine receptor levels in mice.  Behavioural Pharmacology, 21(7), 602-614.     Siegel, J.A.;  Park, B.S.;  & Raber, J.  (2011, May 16).  Long-term effects of neonatal methamphetamine exposure on cognitive function in adolescent mice.  Behavioural Brain Research, 219(1), 159-164.