Methamphetamine (METH), which is used to improve the alertness of narcoleptic patients, elicits autonomic physiological responses such as increases in body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate. We have shown that orexin synthesizing neurons, which have an important role in maintaining wakefulness, greatly contribute to the regulation of cardiovascular and thermoregulatory function. This regulation is partly mediated by glutamatergic as well as orexinergic signalling from the orexin neurons. These signals may also be involved in the autonomic response elicited by METH. This study aimed to determine if loss of either orexin or glutamate in orexin neurons would affect METH-induced changes in heart rate and body temperature. We used transgenic mice in which the vesicular glutamate transporter 2 gene was disrupted selectively in orexin-producing neurons (ORX;vGT2-KO), prepro-orexin knockout mice (ORX-KO), and control wild type mice (WT). We measured body temperature, heart rate and locomotor activity with a pre-implanted telemetry probe and compared the effect of METH (0.5, 2 and 5 mg/kg i.p.) on these parameters between these three groups. A low dose of METH induced hyperthermia and tachycardia responses in ORX;vGT2-KO mice, which were significant compared to ORX-KO and WT mice. The highest dose of METH induced hypothermia and bradycardia in ORX-KO mice, however, it induced hyperthermia in both WT and ORX;vGT2-KO mice. These results suggest that glutamate and orexin from orexin neurons have differential roles in mediating METH-induced changes in body temperature and heart rate.
- Autonomic function
- Transgenic mice