Neonatal exposure to methamphetamine (MA) and developmental chronic stress significantly alter neurodevelopmental profiles that show a variety of long-term physiological and behavioral effects. In the current experiment, Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to one of two housing conditions along with MA. Rats were given 0 (saline), 5, or 7.5 mg/kg MA, four times per day from postnatal day (P)11 to 15 or P11 to 20. Half of the litters were reared in cages with standard bedding and half with no bedding. Separate litters were assessed at P15 or P20 for organ weights (adrenals, spleen, thymus); corticosterone; and monoamine assessments (dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine) and their metabolites within the neostriatum, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex. Findings show neonatal MA altered monoamines, corticosterone, and organ characteristics alone, and as a function of developmental age and stress compared with controls. These alterations may in part be responsible for MA and early life stress-induced long-term learning and memory deficits.
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