Changes in gene expression linked to methamphetamine-induced dopaminergic neurotoxicity

Tao Xie, Liqiong Tong, Tanya Barrett, Jie Yuan, George Hatzidimitriou, Una D. McCann, Kevin G. Becker, David M. Donovan, George A. Ricaurte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The purpose of these studies was to examine the role of gene expression in methamphetamine (METH)-induced dopamine (DA) neurotoxicity. First, the effects of the mRNA synthesis inhibitor, actinomycin-D, and the protein synthesis inhibitor, cycloheximide, were examined. Both agents afforded complete protection against METH-induced DA neurotoxicity and did so independently of effects on core temperature, DA transporter function, or METH brain levels, suggesting that gene transcription and mRNA translation play a role in METH neurotoxicity. Next, microarray technology, in combination with an experimental approach designed to facilitate recognition of relevant gene expression patterns, was used to identify gene products linked to METH-induced DA neurotoxicity. This led to the identification of several genes in the ventral midbrain associated with the neurotoxic process, including genes for energy metabolism [cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COX1), reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide ubiquinone oxidoreductase chain 2, and phosphoglycerate mutase B], ion regulation (members of sodium/hydrogen exchanger and sodium/bile acid cotransporter family), signal transduction (adenylyl cyclase III), and cell differentiation and degeneration (N-myc downstreamregulated gene 3 and tau protein). Of these differentially expressed genes, we elected to further examine the increase in COX1 expression, because of data implicating energy utilization in METH neurotoxicity and the known role of COX1 in energy metabolism. On the basis of time course studies, Northern blot analyses, in situ hybridization results, and temperature studies, we now report that increased COX1 expression in the ventral midbrain is linked to METH-induced DA neuronal injury. The precise role of COX1 and other genes in METH neurotoxicity remains to be elucidated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-283
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002


  • Amphetamines
  • Dopamine
  • Microarray
  • Neurodegeneration cytochrome c oxidase
  • Neurotoxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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