Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"Bath Salts" and methamphetamine have a different toxicological profile?

There have been a number of news reports recently about people who display abnormal aggression while using "bath salts".  The putative active ingredient in these preparations is mephedrone, a combination of methamphetamine and cathinone.  While methamphetamine is neurotoxic to the terminal button of striatal neurons, a report in The Journal of Neurochemistry suggests that mephedrone lacks methamphetamine's impact in this model.   Despite the similarities between mephedrone and methamphetamine, mephedrone does not produce methamphetamine's change in dopamine, dopamine transporter, or tyrosine hydroxylase.

Reference - Angoa-Perez et al. (2012). Mephedrone, an abused psychoactive component of 'bath salts' and methamphetamine congener, does not cause neurotoxicity to dopamine nerve endings of the striatum  J Neurosci 120(6): 1097

Sunday, June 17, 2012

New volume on methamphetamine abuse, health effects and treatment

Our research group at the University of Missouri has contributed chapters to a new book on methamphetamine (Methamphetamines: Abuse, Health Effects, and Treatment Options.  Nova Science Publishers).  Our chapters focused on methamphetamine's mechanism of action in the brain, using locomotor activity in rodents to study the drug, and sigma receptors as a possible treatment for methamphetamine abuse.

Reference- Methamphetamines: Abuse, Health Effects, and Treatment Options. J Ornoy & X. He, Eds., Nova Science Publishers, 2012.

Dextromethorphan diminishes methamphetamine's effects

Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant found in Robitussin-DM and Mucinex-DM and binds to a number of sites in the brain related to drug abuse and dependence, including opioid receptors, sigma receptors, glutamate receptors and neurotransmitter transporters.  Pao-Pao Yang and colleagues recently published a research article in the journal Synapse indicating that dextromethorphan could be a treatment for craving for methamphetamine craving.  In their experiment, dextromethorphan microinjection into brain regions associated with drug abuse and dependence (the nucleus accumbens and ventral tegmental area) decreased methamphetamine-seeking during a methamphetamine withdrawal period.

Reference - Yang PP et al (2012) Post-treatment of dextromethorphan on methamphetamine-induced drug-seeking and behavioral sensitization in rats. Synapse