Tetrahydropalmatine protects against methamphetamine-induced spatial learning and memory impairment in mice

Yan Jiong Chen, Yan Ling Liu, Qing Zhong, Yan Fang Yu, Hong Liang Su, Haroldo A. Toque, Yong Hui Dang, Feng Chen, Ming Xu, Teng Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of methamphetamine (MA) on spatial learning and memory and the role of tetrahydropalmatine (THP) in MA-induced changes in these phenomena in mice. Methods: Male C57BL/6 mice were randomly divided into eight groups, according to different doses of MA, different doses of THP, treatment with both MA and THP, and saline controls. Spatial learning and memory were assessed using the Morris water maze. Western blot was used to detect the expression of extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK) in the mouse prefrontal cortex (PFC) and hippocampus. Results: Repeated MA treatment significantly increased the escape latency in the learning phase and decreased the number of platform site crossings in the memory-test phase. ERK1/2 expression was decreased in the PFC but not in the hippocampus of the MA-treated mice. Repeated THP treatment alone did not affect the escape latency, the number of platform site crossings or the total ERK1/2 expression in the brain. Statistically significantly shorter escape latencies and more platform site crossings occurred in MA+THP-treated mice than in MA-treated mice. Conclusion: Repeated MA administration impairs spatial learning and memory in mice, and its co-administration with THP prevents this impairment, which is probably attributable to changed ERK1/2 expression in the PFC. This study contributes to uncovering the mechanism underlying MA abuse, and to exploring potential therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-232
Number of pages11
JournalNeuroscience Bulletin
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Drug addiction
  • ERK
  • Hippocampus
  • Methamphetamine
  • Morris water maze
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Tetrahydropalmatine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology


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