Methamphetamine has powerful stimulant and euphoric effects that are experienced as rewarding and encourage use. Methamphetamine addiction is associated with debilitating illnesses, destroyed relationships, child neglect, violence, and crime; but after many years of research, broadly effective medications have not been identified. Individual differences that may impact not only risk for developing a methamphetamine use disorder but also affect treatment response have not been fully considered. Human studies have identified candidate genes that may be relevant, but lack of control over drug history, the common use or coabuse of multiple addictive drugs, and restrictions on the types of data that can be collected in humans are barriers to progress. To overcome some of these issues, a genetic animal model comprised of lines of mice selectively bred for high and low voluntary methamphetamine intake was developed to identify risk and protective alleles for methamphetamine consumption, and identify therapeutic targets. The mu opioid receptor gene was supported as a target for genes within a top-ranked transcription factor network associated with level of methamphetamine intake. In addition, mice that consume high levels of methamphetamine were found to possess a nonfunctional form of the trace amine-associated receptor 1 (TAAR1). The Taar1 gene is within a mouse chromosome 10 quantitative trait locus for methamphetamine consumption, and TAAR1 function determines sensitivity to aversive effects of methamphetamine that may curb intake. The genes, gene interaction partners, and protein products identified in this genetic mouse model represent treatment target candidates for methamphetamine addiction.
- Quantitative trait locus
- Selected lines
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience