Effects of amphetamine exposure during adolescence on behavior and prelimbic cortex neuron activity in adulthood

Luke K. Sherrill, Joshua M. Gulley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Repeated exposure to psychostimulants during adolescence produces long-lasting changes in behavior that may be mediated by disrupted development of the mesocorticolimbic dopamine system. Here, we tested this hypothesis by assessing the effects of amphetamine (AMPH) and dopamine receptor-selective drugs on behavior and neuron activity in the prelimbic region of the medial prefrontal cortex (PFC). Adolescent male, Sprague-Dawley rats were given saline or 3 mg/kg AMPH between postnatal day (P) 27 and P45. In Experiment 1, locomotor behavior was assessed during adulthood following challenges with a dopamine D 1 (SKF 82958) or D 2 (quinpirole) receptor-selective agonist. In Experiment 2, pre-exposed rats were challenged during adulthood with AMPH and a D 1 (SKF 83566) or D 2 (eticlopride) receptor-selective antagonist. In Experiment 3, the activity of putative pyramidal cells in the prelimbic cortex was recorded as rats behaved in an open-field arena before and after challenge injections with AMPH and one of the antagonists. We found that compared to controls, adolescent pre-exposed rats were more sensitive to the stimulant effects of AMPH and the dopamine receptor agonists, as well as to the ability of the antagonists to reverse AMPH-induced stereotypy. Prelimbic neurons from AMPH pre-exposed rats were also more likely to respond to an AMPH challenge in adulthood, primarily by reducing their activity, and the antagonists reversed these effects. Our results suggest that exposure to AMPH during adolescence leads to enduring adaptations in the mesocorticolimbic dopamine system that likely mediate heightened response to the drug during adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-120
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Research
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Adolescent
  • D receptor
  • D receptor
  • Development
  • Locomotor activity
  • Sensitization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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