mRNA and microRNA analysis reveals modulation of biochemical pathways related to addiction in the ventral tegmental area of methamphetamine self-administering rats

Bosch, P.J., Benton, M.C., Macartney-Coxson, D., & Kivell, B.M. (2015) mRNA and microRNA analysis reveals modulation of biochemical pathways related to addiction in the ventral tegmental area of methamphetamine self-administering rats. BMC Neuroscience, 16, Article Number-43.

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Methamphetamine is a highly addictive central nervous system stimulant with increasing levels of abuse worldwide. Alterations to mRNA and miRNA expression within the mesolimbic system can affect addiction-like behaviors and thus play a role in the development of drug addiction. While many studies have investigated the effects of high-dose methamphetamine, and identified neurotoxic effects, few have looked at the role that persistent changes in gene regulation play following methamphetamine self-administration. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify RNA changes in the ventral tegmental area following methamphetamine self-administration. We performed microarray analyses on RNA extracted from the ventral tegmental area of Sprague–Dawley rats following methamphetamine self-administration training (2 h/day) and 14 days of abstinence.


We identified 78 miRNA and 150 mRNA transcripts that were differentially expressed (fdr adjusted p < 0.05, absolute log2 fold change >0.5); these included genes not previously associated with addiction (miR-125a-5p, miR-145 and Foxa1), loci encoding receptors related to drug addiction behaviors and genes with previously recognized roles in addiction such as miR-124, miR-181a, DAT and Ret.


This study provides insight into the effects of methamphetamine on RNA expression in a key brain region associated with addiction, highlighting the possibility that persistent changes in the expression of genes with both known and previously unknown roles in addiction occur.

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ID Code: 94566
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: addiction, mRNA, miRNA, methamphetamine
DOI: 10.1186/s12868-015-0186-y
ISSN: 1471-2202
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Biomedical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: 2015 Bosch et al.
Copyright Statement: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Deposited On: 07 Apr 2016 00:11
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2016 23:34

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