As determined by autoradiographic techniques, multiple high doses of methamphetamine elicited a reduction in dopamine receptor population (both D1 and D2) in several areas of the rat central nervous system. D1 receptors were labeled with the D1-selective antagonist, [3H]SCH 23390, and D2 receptors were labeled with the D2-selective neuroleptic, [3H]sulpiride. Scatchard analysis, obtained from saturation data in caudate-putamen, indicated that the receptor alterations were due to a decrease in the number of receptors (Bmax) without an apparent change in affinity (Kd). A time course demonstrated that five doses of methamphetamine were required to elicit significant changes in receptors in most brain areas examined. The onset of the receptor alterations in various brain regions correlated with the development of methamphetamine-induced depression of striatal tyrosine hydroxylase activity. In most brain areas, the dopamine receptors returned to normal within 7 days following methamphetamine.
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