Publication Date

Spring 2017


Methamphetamine (METH) abuse continues to be a major public health concern. Use is endemic in the Western states and growing in the Midwest; Colorado currently ranks 7th in the nation for total number of METH users over the age of 25. Psychostimulant abuse carries with it several potential health risks, including addiction, and METH abuse carries the additional danger of permanent brain injury. It is well established that exposure to multiple high doses of METH produces damage to central monoamine systems. Long-lasting decreases in markers of dopamine (DA) innervation of the striatum have been reported in both human METH abusers and rodent models of binge METH use. In fact, recent studies have shown that METH abusers are more likely to develop Parkinson's disease, suggesting enduring and possibly progressive DA loss as a consequence of METH abuse. Prior studies using rodent models of Parkinson's disease, have demonstrated beneficial effects of exercise on both neurochemical and behavior recovery. Recently, this work has been extended to the study of METH neurotoxicity; with data showing that wheel running ameliorates METH-induced monoaminergic loss. Importantly, that study employed an exercise designed to elucidate whether this effect was the result of protection against the initial neurotoxic insult, or promoted neurochemical recovery after METH administration. We've been examining a more clinically-relevant option and have now shown that 3 weeks of post-METH exercise significantly attenuates monoaminergic neurotoxicity.



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