Methamphetamine (METH) abuse has reached epidemic proportions, and it has become increasingly recognized that abusers suffer from a wide range of neurocognitive deficits. Much previous work has focused on the deleterious effects of METH on mature neurons, but little is known about the effects of METH on neural progenitor cells (NPCs). It is now well established that new neurons are continuously generated from NPCs in the adult hippocampus, and accumulating evidence suggests important roles for these neurons in hippocampal-dependent cognitive functions. In a rat hippocampal NPC culture system, we find that METH results in a dose-dependent reduction of NPC proliferation, and higher concentrations of METH impair NPC survival. NPC differentiation, however, is not affected by METH, suggesting cell-stage specificity of the effects of METH. We demonstrate that the effects of METH on NPCs are, in part, mediated through oxidative and nitrosative stress. Further, we identify seventeen NPC proteins that are post-translationally modified via 3-nitrotyrosination in response to METH, using mass spectrometric approaches. One such protein was pyruvate kinase isoform M2 (PKM2), an important mediator of cellular energetics and proliferation. We identify sites of PKM2 that undergo nitrotyrosination, and demonstrate that nitration of the protein impairs its activity. Thus, METH abuse may result in impaired adult hippocampal neurogenesis, and effects on NPCs may be mediated by protein nitration. Our study has implications for the development of novel therapeutic approaches for METH-abusing individuals with neurologic dysfunction and may be applicable to other neurodegenerative diseases in which hippocampal neurogenesis is impaired.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience