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Methamphetamine and sleep impairments: neurobehavioral correlates and molecular mechanisms

Methamphetamine and sleep impairments: neurobehavioral correlates and molecular mechanisms

Vrajova, Monika, Slamberova, Romana, Hoschl, Cyril and Ovsepian, Saak (2021) Methamphetamine and sleep impairments: neurobehavioral correlates and molecular mechanisms. Sleep, 44 (6):zsab001. ISSN 0161-8105 (Print), 1550-9109 (Online) (doi:

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Methamphetamine is a potent and highly addictive psychostimulant, and one of the most widely used illicit drugs. Over recent years, its global usage and seizure have been on a rapid rise, with growing detrimental effects on mental and physical health, and devastating psychosocial impact pressing for intervention. Among the unwanted effects of methamphetamine, acute and long-term sleep impairments are of major concern, posing a significant therapeutic challenge, and a cause of addiction relapse. Unraveling mechanisms and functional correlates of methamphetamine-related sleep and circadian disruption are, therefore, of key relevance to translational and clinical psychiatry. In this article, we review the mounting evidence for the acute and long-term impairements of sleep-wake behavior and circadian activity caused by single or recurring methamphetamine usage and withdrawal. Factors contributing to the severity of sleep loss and related cognitive deficit, with risks of relapse are discussed. Key molecular players mediating methamphetamine-induced dopamine release and neuromodulation are considered, with wake-promoting effects in mesolimbic circuits. The effects on various sleep phases and related changes in dopamine levels in selected subcortical structures are reviewed and compared to other psychostimulants with similar action mechanisms. A critical appraisal is presented of the therapeutic use of modafinil, countering sleep, and circadian rhythm impairments. Finally, emerging knowledge gaps and methodical limitations are highlighted along with the areas for future research and therapeutic translation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: methamphetamine, sleep and insomnia, dopamine, addiction, modafinil, drug abuse, circadian rhythms, dopamine transporter
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
R Medicine > RS Pharmacy and materia medica
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Biology & Biotechnology Research Group
Faculty of Engineering & Science > School of Science (SCI)
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2022 13:30

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