Journal of Undergraduate Research


metamphetamine's effects, dopamine production, exposure to glutathione


Family, Home, and Social Sciences




One of the primary focuses of much addiction research involves finding methods to alleviate methamphetamine (METH) addiction. METH is one of the most widely used illicit drugs in the United States. Estimates by the National Institute on Drug Abuse Statistics are that 5.5% of all adults ages 26 and above have at tried METH at least one time. Given its high addictive potential, the chance for entering damaging addiction cycles among these individuals is very high, and can have great societal and economic consequences in addition to physical and mental problems on the individual level. While the need for better preventative education cannot go understated, the need for methods to help attenuate the addiction would provide an important tool to help addicts break METH’s vicious cycle. The rapid release of dopamine (DA) in neurons of the brain’s pleasure centers the Nucleus Accumbens (NAc) and Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) after exposure to METH is widely documented, and has been implicated in the associated addictive behavior, but the mechanism of this action isn’t well understood. Our area of interest is based on the finding that after exposure to METH, reactive oxygen species (ROS), which includes hydrogen peroxide and free radicals, increases dramatically, bringing about oxidative stress, which may have a downstream effect leading to increased DA release. The body naturally uses glutathione peroxidase to reduce the damage caused by ROS, which oxidizes glutathione as a cofactor. Our hypothesis was that by adding Glutathione (GSH) to the system, we would be able to increase glutathione peroxidase activity and attenuate the effects of METH on DA release.

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