Differences in response to amphetamines found between males and females pre-puberty

Following Selective Monomine Depletion" are Cecile Goodrich Ph.D. (now at Drexel University) and Valerie Robinson. Their findings are being presented at Genomes and Hormones: An Integrative Approach to Gender Differences in Physiology, an American Physiological Society (APS) conference being held October 17-20, 2001, at the Westin Convention Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.

To conduct the study, the investigators depleted brain transmitters from the brains of lab mice -- either serotonin (a vascoconstrictor) or catecholamines, (Pyrocatechols with an alkylamine side chain definition) both of which are major elements in response to stress. Behavior was observed at six ages (14, 15, 17, 19, 21, or 28 days). The mice littermates received either p-chlorophenylalanine (pCPA) to deplete the seratonin or a saline solution. Other litters received either a-methyl-p-tyrosine (AMPT) to deplete the catecholarmines or olive oil (for the control group).

Locomotion was observed 24 hours after administration. Locomotion and auditory startle responses were assessed. Analysis revealed that:

  • The female mice treated with pCPA showed significant increases at 19 and 21 days in locomotive ability; males displayed no changes.

  • PCPA females displayed significant increases in startle behavior at 14 days; males had no significant changes.

  • Female mice treated with AMPT had significant decreases in locomotion at 21 and 28 days; male mice decreased their activity at 21 and 28 days. Females in this group displayed significant decreases in startle behavior at 15, 19 and 21 days, whereas males showed no changes from the control group.

The two transmitter systems (serotonin and catecholamines) are known to have different patterns of maturation. This new information on gender differences suggests that additional research may be required to determine th

Contact: Donna Krupa
American Physiological Society

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