Analysis of mRNA changes as a function of learning and methamphetamine exposure
Klipec, William D.
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Methamphetamine is a powerful, addictive drug that is of great concern in Iowa and the Midwest. Powerful methamphetamine abuse is correlated with depression and learning disabilities (e.g. attention deficit disorder). Although the mechanism of action of methamphetamine in the brain has been well characterized at the cellular and synaptic level, the effects of this drug at the genetic level are not well understood. To analyze the possible effects of methamphetamine on learning, we are using real-time PCR to investigate changes in gene expression (i.e., messenger RNA levels) in rat brains as a function of learning and exposure to methamphetamine. Specifically, we are analyzing relative mRNA levels from genes whose products have been implicated in learning and/or addiction: GABA receptors, dopamine receptors, and glutamate (NMDA) receptors. Comparison of these data sets is expected to reveal potential cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in producing drug-induced learning disabilities.
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