Dennis Miller, associate professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences in the College of Arts and Science and an investigator with the Bond Life Sciences Center, and researchers in the Center for Translational Neuroscience at MU, study therapies for drug addiction and neurodegenerative disorders.
Their research targets treatments for methamphetamine abuse and has focused on the role of the neurotransmitter dopamine in drug addiction.
Dopamine levels in the brain surge after methamphetamine use; this increase is associated with the motivation to continue using the drug, despite its adverse consequences.
However, with repeated methamphetamine use, dopamine neurons may degenerate causing neurological and behavioral impairments, similar to those observed in people with Parkinson's disease.
Miller said that dopamine is critical to the development of methamphetamine addiction-the transition from using a drug because one likes or enjoys it to using the drug because one craves or compulsively uses it, asserting that resveratrol has been shown to regulate these dopamine neurons and to be protective in Parkinson's disease, a disorder where dopamine neurons degenerate; therefore, we sought to determine if resveratrol could affect methamphetamine-induced changes in the brain.
Using procedures established by Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease research, rats received resveratrol once a day for seven days in about the same concentration as a human would receive from a healthy diet. After a week of resveratrol, researchers measured how much dopamine was released by methamphetamine.
Researchers found that resveratrol significantly diminished methamphetamine's ability to increase dopamine levels in the brain.
The study has been published in Neuroscience Letters.