Methamphetamine is currently one of the most widely abused drugs worldwide, with hyperthermia being a leading cause of death in methamphetamine overdose situations. Methamphetamine-induced hyperthermia involves a variety of cellular mechanisms, including increases in hypothalamic interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) expression. Methamphetamine also interacts with sigma receptors and previous studies have shown that sigma receptor antagonists mitigate many of the behavioral and physiological effects of methamphetamine, including hyperthermia. The purpose of the current study was to determine if the attenuation of methamphetamine-induced hyperthermia by the sigma receptor antagonists, AZ66 and SN79, is associated with a concomitant attenuation of IL-1β mRNA expression, particularly in the hypothalamus. Methamphetamine produced dose- and time-dependent increases in core body temperature and IL-1β mRNA expression in the hypothalamus, striatum, and cortex in male, Swiss Webster mice. Pretreatment with the sigma receptor antagonists, AZ66 and SN79, significantly attenuated methamphetamine-induced hyperthermia, but further potentiated IL-1β mRNA in the mouse hypothalamus when compared to animals treated with methamphetamine alone. These findings suggest sigma receptor antagonists attenuate methamphetamine-induced hyperthermia through a different mechanism from that involved in the modulation of hypothalamic IL-1β mRNA expression.
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