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.
- basal forebrain
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience