Repeated dexamphetamine treatment alters the dopaminergic system and increases the phMRI response to methylphenidate.
ABSTRACT: Dexamphetamine (AMPH) is a psychostimulant drug that is used both recreationally and as medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that repeated exposure to AMPH can induce damage to nerve terminals of dopamine (DA) neurons. We here assessed the underlying neurobiological changes in the DA system following repeated AMPH exposure and pre-treated rats with AMPH or saline (4 times 5 mg/kg s.c., 2 hours apart), followed by a 1-week washout period. We then used pharmacological MRI (phMRI) with a methylphenidate (MPH) challenge, as a sensitive and non-invasive in-vivo measure of DAergic function. We subsequently validated the DA-ergic changes post-mortem, using a.o. high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and autoradiography. In the AMPH pre-treated group, we observed a significantly larger BOLD response to the MPH challenge, particularly in DA-ergic brain areas and their downstream projections. Subsequent autoradiography studies showed that AMPH pre-treatment significantly reduced DA transporter (DAT) density in the caudate-putamen (CPu) and nucleus accumbens, whereas HPLC analysis revealed increases in the DA metabolite homovanillic acid in the CPu. Our results suggest that AMPH pre-treatment alters DAergic responsivity, a change that can be detected with phMRI in rats. These phMRI changes likely reflect increased DA release together with reduced DAT binding. The ability to assess subtle synaptic changes using phMRI is promising for both preclinical studies of drug discovery, and for clinical studies where phMRI can be a useful tool to non-invasively investigate DA abnormalities, e.g. in neuropsychiatric disorders.
Project description:In vivo brain microdialysis was used in conjunction with "reverse-dialysis" of the dopamine-transporter (DAT) blockers GBR 12909 and methylphenidate (MPH) to observe the temporal course of their effects on d-amphetamine (d-AMPH)-induced increases in dopamine (DA) efflux in the rat nucleus accumbens (NAc). Reverse-dialysis of d-AMPH (10 μM) for 30 min resulted in a 2000-2500% increase in DA efflux. Pretreatment with GBR 12909 or MPH (20, 100 μM) for 90 min, which on their own elevated DA levels ∼2000-3000% above baseline values, dose-dependently occluded d-AMPH-evoked DA efflux. In GBR 12909-treated rats, basal levels of DA remained dramatically elevated at 24, 48, and 72 h following treatment, while levels in the MPH group returned back toward pretreatment values. Despite this contrast in basal DA efflux, the magnitudes of DA efflux evoked by a second exposure to d-AMPH were comparable in the two treatment groups. Together, these data support the development of DAT blockers as potential pharmacological interventions for the control of psychostimulant abuse. Furthermore, our data implicate DAT as a common site of action for both GBR 12909 and MPH, as well as d-AMPH.
Project description:The dopamine transporter (DAT) is the primary molecular target responsible for the rewarding properties of the psychostimulants amphetamine (AMPH) and cocaine. AMPH increases extracellular dopamine (DA) by promoting its nonexocytotic release via DAT-mediated efflux. Previous studies in heterologous cells have shown that phosphorylation of the amino terminus of DAT is required for AMPH-induced DA efflux but not for DA uptake. However, the identity of many of the modulatory proteins and the molecular mechanisms that coordinate efflux and the ensuing behavioral effects remain poorly defined. Here, we establish a robust assay for AMPH-induced hyperlocomotion in Drosophila melanogaster larvae. Using a variety of genetic and pharmacological approaches, we demonstrate that this behavioral response is dependent on DA and on DAT and its phosphorylation. We also show that methylphenidate (MPH), which competitively inhibits DA uptake but does not induce DAT-mediated DA efflux, also leads to DAT-dependent hyperlocomotion, but this response is independent of DAT phosphorylation. Moreover, we demonstrate that the membrane raft protein Flotillin-1 is required for AMPH-induced, but not MPH-induced, hyperlocomotion. These results are the first evidence of a role for a raft protein in an AMPH-mediated behavior. Thus, using our assay we are able to translate molecular and cellular findings to a behavioral level and to differentiate in vivo the distinct mechanisms of two psychostimulants.
Project description:Dopamine transporter (DAT) levels vary across brain regions and individuals, and are altered by drug history and disease states; however, the impact of altered DAT expression on psychostimulant effects in brain has not been systematically explored. Using fast scan cyclic voltammetry, we measured the effects of elevated DAT levels on presynaptic dopamine parameters as well as the uptake inhibition potency of the blockers cocaine and methylphenidate (MPH) and the releaser amphetamine (AMPH) in the nucleus accumbens core. Here we found that increases in DAT levels, resulting from either genetic overexpression or MPH self-administration, caused markedly increased maximal rates of uptake (Vmax) that were positively correlated with the uptake inhibition potency of AMPH and MPH, but not cocaine. AMPH and MPH were particularly sensitive to DAT changes, with a 100% increase in Vmax resulting in a 200% increase in potency. The relationship between Vmax and MPH potency was the same as that for AMPH, but was different from that for cocaine, indicating that MPH more closely resembles a releaser with regard to uptake inhibition. Conversely, the effects of MPH on stimulated dopamine release were similar to those of cocaine, with inverted U-shaped increases in release over a concentration-response curve. This was strikingly different from the release profile of AMPH, which showed only reductions at high concentrations, indicating that MPH is not a pure releaser. These data indicate that although MPH is a DAT blocker, its uptake-inhibitory actions are affected by DAT changes in a similar manner to releasers. Together, these data show that fluctuations in DAT levels alter the potency of releasers and MPH but not blockers and suggest an integral role of the DAT in the addictive potential of AMPH and related compounds.
Project description:Drugs of abuse, including cocaine, amphetamine (AMPH), and heroin, elevate extracellular dopamine (DA) levels in the brain, thereby altering the activity/plasticity of reward circuits and precipitating addiction. The physiological release of DA occurs through the calcium-dependent fusion of a synaptic vesicle with the plasma membrane. Extracellular DA is cleared by uptake through the Na+/Cl- -dependent DA transporter (DAT). In contrast, the substrate AMPH induces nonvesicular release of DA mediated by DAT. Extracellular AMPH is generally believed to trigger DA efflux through DAT by facilitating exchange for cytosolic DA. Here, in outside-out patches from heterologous cells stably expressing DAT or from dopaminergic neurons, by using ionic conditions in the patch pipette that mimic those produced by AMPH stimulation, we report that AMPH causes DAT-mediated DA efflux by two independent mechanisms: (i) a slow process consistent with an exchange mechanism and (ii) a process that results in rapid (millisecond) bursts of DA efflux through a channel-like mode of DAT. Because channel-like release of DA induced by AMPH is rapid and contains a large number of DA molecules, with a single burst of DA on par with a quantum of DA from exocytotic release of a vesicle, this burst mode of release may play a role in the synaptic actions and psychostimulant properties of AMPH and related compounds. Unlike AMPH, the endogenous substrate DA, when present on both sides of the plasma membrane, inhibits this channel-like activity, thereby suggesting that the DAT channel-like mode cannot accumulate DA against a concentration gradient.
Project description:The psychostimulants d-amphetamine (AMPH) and methamphetamine (METH) release excess dopamine (DA) into the synaptic clefts of dopaminergic neurons. Abnormal DA release is thought to occur by reverse transport through the DA transporter (DAT), and it is believed to underlie the severe behavioral effects of these drugs. Here we compare structurally similar AMPH and METH on DAT function in a heterologous expression system and in an animal model. In the in vitro expression system, DAT-mediated whole-cell currents were greater for METH stimulation than for AMPH. At the same voltage and concentration, METH released five times more DA than AMPH and did so at physiological membrane potentials. At maximally effective concentrations, METH released twice as much [Ca(2+)](i) from internal stores compared with AMPH. [Ca(2+)](i) responses to both drugs were independent of membrane voltage but inhibited by DAT antagonists. Intact phosphorylation sites in the N-terminal domain of DAT were required for the AMPH- and METH-induced increase in [Ca(2+)](i) and for the enhanced effects of METH on [Ca(2+)](i) elevation. Calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II and protein kinase C inhibitors alone or in combination also blocked AMPH- or METH-induced Ca(2+) responses. Finally, in the rat nucleus accumbens, in vivo voltammetry showed that systemic application of METH inhibited DAT-mediated DA clearance more efficiently than AMPH, resulting in excess external DA. Together these data demonstrate that METH has a stronger effect on DAT-mediated cell physiology than AMPH, which may contribute to the euphoric and addictive properties of METH compared with AMPH.
Project description:Amphetamine (AMPH) elicits its behavioral effects by acting on the dopamine (DA) transporter (DAT) to induce DA efflux into the synaptic cleft. We previously demonstrated that a human DAT construct in which the first 22 amino acids were truncated was not phosphorylated by activation of protein kinase C, in contrast to wild-type (WT) DAT, which was phosphorylated. Nonetheless, in all functions tested to date, which include uptake, inhibitor binding, oligomerization, and redistribution away from the cell surface in response to protein kinase C activation, the truncated DAT was indistinguishable from the full-length WT DAT. Here, however, we show that in HEK-293 cells stably expressing an N-terminal-truncated DAT (del-22 DAT), AMPH-induced DA efflux is reduced by approximately 80%, whether measured by superfusion of a population of cells or by amperometry combined with the patch-clamp technique in the whole cell configuration. We further demonstrate in a full-length DAT construct that simultaneous mutation of the five N-terminal serine residues to alanine (S/A) produces the same phenotype as del-22-normal uptake but dramatically impaired efflux. In contrast, simultaneous mutation of these same five serines to aspartate (S/D) to simulate phosphorylation results in normal AMPH-induced DA efflux and uptake. In the S/A background, the single mutation to Asp of residue 7 or residue 12 restored a significant fraction of WT efflux, whereas mutation to Asp of residues 2, 4, or 13 was without significant effect on efflux. We propose that phosphorylation of one or more serines in the N-terminus of human DAT, most likely Ser7 or Ser12, is essential for AMPH-induced DAT-mediated DA efflux. Quite surprisingly, N-terminal phosphorylation shifts DAT from a "reluctant" state to a "willing" state for AMPH-induced DA efflux, without affecting inward transport. These data raise the therapeutic possibility of interfering selectively with AMPH-induced DA efflux without altering physiological DA uptake.
Project description:Emerging evidence associates dysfunction in the dopamine (DA) transporter (DAT) with the pathophysiology of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The human DAT (hDAT; SLC6A3) rare variant with an Ala to Val substitution at amino acid 559 (hDAT A559V) was previously reported in individuals with bipolar disorder or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We have demonstrated that this variant is hyper-phosphorylated at the amino (N)-terminal serine (Ser) residues and promotes an anomalous DA efflux phenotype. Here, we report the novel identification of hDAT A559V in two unrelated ASD subjects and provide the first mechanistic description of its impaired trafficking phenotype. DAT surface expression is dynamically regulated by DAT substrates including the psychostimulant amphetamine (AMPH), which causes hDAT trafficking away from the plasma membrane. The integrity of DAT trafficking directly impacts DA transport capacity and therefore dopaminergic neurotransmission. Here, we show that hDAT A559V is resistant to AMPH-induced cell surface redistribution. This unique trafficking phenotype is conferred by altered protein kinase C ? (PKC?) activity. Cells expressing hDAT A559V exhibit constitutively elevated PKC? activity, inhibition of which restores the AMPH-induced hDAT A559V membrane redistribution. Mechanistically, we link the inability of hDAT A559V to traffic in response to AMPH to the phosphorylation of the five most distal DAT N-terminal Ser. Mutation of these N-terminal Ser to Ala restores AMPH-induced trafficking. Furthermore, hDAT A559V has a diminished ability to transport AMPH, and therefore lacks AMPH-induced DA efflux. Pharmacological inhibition of PKC? or Ser to Ala substitution in the hDAT A559V background restores AMPH-induced DA efflux while promoting intracellular AMPH accumulation. Although hDAT A559V is a rare variant, it has been found in multiple probands with neuropsychiatric disorders associated with imbalances in DA neurotransmission, including ADHD, bipolar disorder, and now ASD. These findings provide valuable insight into a new cellular phenotype (altered hDAT trafficking) supporting dysregulated DA function in these disorders. They also provide a novel potential target (PKC?) for therapeutic interventions in individuals with ASD.
Project description:Introduction:There has been an increasing interest in analyzing the interactions between stimulants and ethanol during childhood and adolescence. Stimulants are used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in these developmental stages, during which ethanol initiation and escalation often occur. Methods:This study assessed the effects of repeated d-amphetamine (AMPH) or methylphenidate (MPH) treatment during adolescence [male and female Wistar rats, between postnatal day (PD) 28 to PD34, approximately] on the initiation of ethanol intake during a later section of adolescence (PD35 to PD40). Results:Amphetamine and MPH exerted reliable acute motor stimulant effects, but there was no indication of sensitized motor or anxiety responses. MPH did not affect dopamine (DA) levels, whereas AMPH significantly reduced insular levels of DA in both sexes and norepinephrine levels in females only. Repeated treatment with AMPH, but not with MPH, enhanced ethanol intake during late adolescence in male, but not in female, rats. Conclusion:A short treatment with AMPH during adolescence significantly altered DA levels in the insula, both in male and females, and significantly enhanced ethanol intake in males. The present results suggest that, in adolescent males, a very brief history of AMPH exposure can facilitate the initiation of ethanol intake.
Project description:Methylphenidate (MPH) is a commonly abused psychostimulant prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. MPH has a mechanism of action similar to cocaine (COC) and is commonly characterized as a dopamine transporter (DAT) blocker. While there has been extensive work aimed at understanding dopamine (DA) nerve terminal changes following COC self-administration, very little is known about the effects of MPH self-administration on the DA system. We used fast scan cyclic voltammetry in nucleus accumbens core slices from animals with a 5-day self-administration history of 40 injections/day of either MPH (0.56?mg/kg) or COC (1.5?mg/kg) to explore alterations in baseline DA release and uptake kinetics as well as alterations in the interaction of each compound with the DAT. Although MPH and COC have similar behavioral effects, the consequences of self-administration on DA system parameters were found to be divergent. We show that COC self-administration reduced DAT levels and maximal rates of DA uptake, as well as reducing electrically stimulated release, suggesting decreased DA terminal function. In contrast, MPH self-administration increased DAT levels, DA uptake rates and DA release, suggesting enhanced terminal function, which was supported by findings of increased metabolite/DA tissue content ratios. Tyrosine hydroxylase messenger RNA, protein and phosphorylation levels were also assessed in both groups. Additionally, COC self-administration reduced COC-induced DAT inhibition, while MPH self-administration increased MPH-induced DAT inhibition, suggesting opposite pharmacodynamic effects of these two drugs. These findings suggest that the factors governing DA system adaptations are more complicated than simple DA uptake blockade.
Project description:Human dopamine (DA) transporter (hDAT) regulates dopaminergic signaling in the central nervous system by maintaining the synaptic concentration of DA at physiological levels, upon reuptake of DA into presynaptic terminals. DA translocation involves the co-transport of two sodium ions and the channeling of a chloride ion, and it is achieved via alternating access between outward-facing (OF) and inward-facing states of DAT. hDAT is a target for addictive drugs, such as cocaine, amphetamine (AMPH), and therapeutic antidepressants. Our recent quantitative systems pharmacology study suggested that orphenadrine (ORPH), an anticholinergic agent and anti-Parkinson drug, might be repurposable as a DAT drug. Previous studies have shown that DAT-substrates like AMPH or -blockers like cocaine modulate the function of DAT in different ways. However, the molecular mechanisms of modulation remained elusive due to the lack of structural data on DAT. The newly resolved DAT structure from Drosophila melanogaster opens the way to a deeper understanding of the mechanism and time evolution of DAT-drug/ligand interactions. Using a combination of homology modeling, docking analysis, molecular dynamics simulations, and molecular biology experiments, we performed a comparative study of the binding properties of DA, AMPH, ORPH, and cocaine and their modulation of hDAT function. Simulations demonstrate that binding DA or AMPH drives a structural transition toward a functional form predisposed to translocate the ligand. In contrast, ORPH appears to inhibit DAT function by arresting it in the OF open conformation. The analysis shows that cocaine and ORPH competitively bind DAT, with the binding pose and affinity dependent on the conformational state of DAT. Further assays show that the effect of ORPH on DAT uptake and endocytosis is comparable to that of cocaine.