- ELSEVIER IRELAND LTD
Little is known about the role of glial cells in the striatum of chronic methamphetamine (METH) users. In this study, we immunohistochemically examined glial reactions in the striatum of chronic METH users who did not abstain from METH use and died of drug intoxication. Human glucose transporter 5 (hGLUT), a useful marker of microglia, and CR3.43, a major histocompatibility complex class II antigen specific for reactive microglia, were immunostained. Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and S100B were used for astrocyte immunohistochemistry. We analyzed 12 chronic METH users and 13 control subjects, and detected a 200-240% increase in the number of hGLUT5-positive cells in chronic METH users (p < 0.01). However, we did not detect any proliferation of CR3.43-positive cells. The number of GFAP-positive astrocytes increased, but this increase was not significant (p > 0.05). Moreover, S100B-positive cell density between the two groups was not significant (p > 0.05). This study demonstrates the absence of reactive gliosis in the striatum of chronic METH users who did not abstain for prolonged periods from METH use. The results suggest that chronic METH use by itself did not activate glial cells in humans and reactive gliosis may not be involved in the mechanism underlying the loss of control in drug intake, which is a characteristic feature of drug addiction. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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