We examined whether methamphetamine modifies the photic entraining responses in the rat suprachiasmatic nucleus. Optic nerve stimulation increased vasoactive intestinal polypeptide release from rat suprachiasmatic nucleus slices, and methamphetamine inhibited this increase in a concentration-dependent manner. Optic nerve stimulation has been reported to evoke field potentials in rat suprachiasmatic nucleus slices. Methamphetamine attenuated this field potential, and maximal inhibition (75.5%) was achieved at a concentration of 100 μM. Systemic administration of methamphetamine (1-5 mg/kg) inhibited light (300 lux, 1 h)-induced Fos expression in the suprachiasmatic nucleus; methamphetamine at a dose of 5 mg/kg, i.p. caused 40% inhibition of light-induced Fos expression. We examined whether the inhibitory effect of methamphetamine on photic entraining responses mediates serotonin release from the suprachiasmatic nucleus. High-performance liquid chromatographic analysis revealed that methamphetamine application increased serotonin release from rat suprachiasmatic nucleus slices in a concentration-dependent manner, but did not affect noradrenaline release. In addition, reduction of serotonin content attenuated the effect of methamphetamine on field potential induced by optic nerve stimulation in vitro and also light-induced phase advances of wheel running activity rhythm in vivo. The present results support the idea that methamphetamine produces an inhibitory effect on photic entrainment in the suprachiasmatic nucleus via serotonin release.
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