Norepinephrine-dependent and independent mechanisms of persistent effects of amphetamine in rat cerebellum

Stephen M. Sorensen, Susan Hattox, Steven W. Johnson, Paula Bickford, Robert Murphy, Robert Freedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Previous studies of the effects of chronic low-dose amphetamine (2 mg/kg per day × 21 days) on the spontaneous discharge rate of cerebellar Purkinje neurons have shown persistent depressant effects for up to 50 days after cessation of drug administration. The depression of spontaneous discharge observed was only partially reversible by various pharmacological agents which disrupt noradrenergic neurotransmission in cerebellum. In the present study, several additional approaches were used to investigate further this persistent effect. Rats were treated, either before or after chronic treatment with amphetamine, with intracisternal 6-hydroxydopamine at doses which destroy most noradrenergic fibers in cerebellum. In either case Purkinje neurons were still significantly slowed after cessation of amphetamine treatment, although the depression was not as great as previously observed. In another experiment, cerebellar cortical levels of 3-methoxy, 4-hydroxy phenyl glycol (MHPG) were measured after cessation of amphetamine administration, to determine if there was biochemical evidence for increased noradrenergic neurotransmission. At ten days, MHPG levels were elevated by 36%, and they returned to control values by 30 days. The evidence obtained in these studies suggests that chronic amphetamine treatment causes a persistent increase in noradrenergic neurotransmission, but non-noradrenergic mechanisms may also be important mechanisms in the long-lasting depression of activity of cerebellar Purkinje neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2383-2389
Number of pages7
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 24 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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