Methamphetamine (MAP) causes the sensitization phenomena not only in MAP-induced locomotor activity, dopamine release, and Fos expression, but also in MAP-induced circadian rhythm. Cocaine-induced sensitization is reportedly impaired in Drosophila melanogaster mutant for the Period (Per) gene. Thus, sensitization may be related to induction of the Per gene. A rapid induction of mPer1 and/or mPer2 in the suprachiasmatic nucleus after light exposure is believed to be necessary for light-induced behavioral phase shifting. Although the caudate/putamen (CPu) expresses mPer1 and/or mPer2 mRNA, the function of these genes in this nucleus has not yet been elucidated. Therefore, we examined whether MAP affects the expression of mPer1 and/or mPer2 mRNA in the mouse CPu. Injection of MAP augmented the expression of mPer1 but not mPer2 or mPer3 in the CPu, and this MAP-induced increase in mPer1 expression lasted for 2 h. Also, the MAP-induced increase of mPer1 mRNA was strongly antagonized by pretreatment with a dopamine D1 receptor and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, but not by a D2 receptor antagonist. Interestingly, application of either the D1 or the D2 agonist alone did not cause mPer1 expression. The present results demonstrate that activation of both NMDA and D1 receptors is necessary to produce MAP-induced mPer1 expression in the CPu. Repeated injection of MAP caused a sensitization in not only the locomotor activity but also mPer1 expression in the CPu without affecting the level of mPer2, mPer3, or mTim mRNA. Thus, these results suggest that MAP-induced mPer1 gene expression may be related to the mechanism for MAP-induced sensitization in the mouse.
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