Main content area

Sex differences in the intensity of cross-sensitization between methylphenidate and amphetamine in adolescent rats

Kharas, Natasha, Yang, Pamela B., Robles, Tiffany, Sanchez, Ashley, Dafny, Nachum
Physiology & behavior 2019 v.202 pp. 77-86
adolescence, adolescents, amphetamine, dose response, females, gender differences, gonads, males, rats
Chronic use of psychostimulants such as methylphenidate (MPD) and amphetamine (Amph) leads to abuse and dependence. Cross-sensitization occurs when exposure to a drug causes a significant intensified response to a different drug as compared to the effect of the drug in subjects with no previous exposure. Cross-sensitization is used as an experimental correlate for a drug's potential to elicit dependence. The present study uses male and female adolescent rats to examine whether cross-sensitization occurs with MPD, a drug not traditionally considered to elicit dependence, and Amph, a drug considered to elicit dependence. The results showed that there is cross-sensitization with MPD to Amph in adolescent rats and that there is a significant difference in male and female responses. Cross-sensitization between MPD and Amph was observed in a linear dose dependent manner in males and in an inverted U-shape pattern in females. Males treated with the highest dose of 10.0 mg/kg MPD and females treated with the mid-dose of 2.5 mg/kg MPD showed the most robust cross-sensitization. Overall, adolescent female rodents had a greater intensity of response to MPD, Amph, and cross-sensitization between MPD and Amph. This study shows that there are significant sex differences in psychostimulant cross-sensitization in adolescence, indicating the maturity of the gonadal system is not the predominant reason for differences between male and female responses to psychostimulant drugs.