Master of Science
Pharmacology & Toxicology
EXAMINING THE BEHAVIORAL AND PHYISIOLGICAL EFFECTS OF D-METHAMPHETAMINE ADMINISTERED VIA E-CIGARETTE AEROSOLIZATION
By Srikethan Mahavadi, B.S.
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science at Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Commonwealth University, 2021
Principal Investigator: Dr. Keith Shelton, PhD., Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology
E-cigarettes have become increasing popular worldwide. They are primarily used as a means to deliver nicotine to users, but these devices may also be used to administer a wide range of other substances including psychomotor stimulants such as d-methamphetamine. Methamphetamine has been widely abused throughout the United States and across the world leading us to believe there may be a possibility of abuse potential resulting from aerosolization of methamphetamine via e-cigarettes. In the present thesis, methamphetamine aerosol’s CNS-mediated behavioral effects were assessed using locomotor activity, sympathomimetics effects examined using physiological testing, and drug blood levels after aerosolized methamphetamine was assayed. Key user controllable parameters of e-cigarette which may impact abuse liability such as puff number and e-cigarette wattage were manipulated. The locomotor assay revealed dose-dependent effects on total distance traveled following methamphetamine administered subcutaneously (at doses of 0.03, 0.1, and 0.3 mg/kg) as well as puff (1, 5, 10, 15, 20) and wattage (18 and 36 watt) dependent changes in locomotor after exposure to 30 mg/ml aerosolized methamphetamine. Physiological effects measuring blood pressure (systolic and diastolic), body temperature, and heart rate showed puff-dependent increases in blood pressure and body temperature; however, heart rate did not show similar results. Finally, methamphetamine plasma concentration levels were also puff dependent as the greater the number of puffs the higher the concentration of methamphetamine in plasma was detected. All of these results were similar or in some cases greater than our positive subcutaneously administered methamphetamine control suggesting that methamphetamine may have high abuse liability when administered using e-cigarettes.
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