Methamphetamine (METH) has been reported to induce endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and neuronal apoptosis in the central nervous system (CNS) during the development of addiction. Thioredoxin-1 (Trx-1) is a redox regulating protein and plays an important role in inhibiting apoptosis and protects neurons from cytotoxicity through ER and mitochondria-mediated pathways. Our previous study has been reported that Trx-1 protects mice from METH-induced rewarding effect. However, whether Trx-1 plays the role in resisting METH injury is still unclear. Here, we aim to investigate whether Trx-1 participates in the regulation of METH-induced CNS injury via ER stress and mitochondria-mediated pathways. Our study first repeated the contioned place preference expression induced by METH. Then we detected and found that METH increased the expression of N-methyl-d-asparate (NMDA) receptor subunit 2B (NR2B) and the level of glutamate (Glu) in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and nucleus accumbens (NAc), while Trx-1 overexpression suppressed the increases. We further examined ER stress-related proteins and mitochondrial apoptosis pathway in the VTA and NAc, and found that METH increased the expressions of glucose regulated protein 78 (GRP78), C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP), and Bax, as same time decreased the expressions of procaspase12, Bcl-2, and procaspase3, while Trx-1 overexpression blocked these changes. These results indicate that Trx-1 blocks METH-induced injury by suppressing ER stress and mitochondria-mediated apoptosis in the VTA and NAc via targeting glutamatergic system.
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