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Effect of sub-chronic hydrocortisone on responses to amphetamine in normal male volunteers

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Peter GallagherORCiD, Dr Bruce Owen, Margaret Smith, Dr Stuart Watson, Professor Allan Young


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Rationale: Enhancement of dopamine (DA) release by corticosteroids may be of aetiological importance in substance misuse. Objectives: To examine the effect of sub-chronic administration of hydrocortisone on the response to amphetamine in healthy male volunteers. Methods: Following baseline assessment, 20 volunteers were pretreated for 7 days with 20 mg of hydrocortisone or placebo at 0800 hours and 2000 hours in a double-blind, random order, cross-over design prior to receiving 0.15 mg/kg metamphetamine intravenously. Blood samples for cortisol and prolactin were taken every 15 min. Subjects also underwent tests of neuropsychological function including sustained attention using the rapid visual information processing test (RVIP), which has been shown to be sensitive to changes in DA function. Results: Metamphetamine produced a substantial reduction in prolactin levels, and increased subjective mood ratings of "mind-race" and "buzz". Sub-chronic hydrocortisone administration had no effect on these neuroendocrine responses, subjective mood changes or neurocognitive performance on a task of sustained attention (RVIP). Conclusions: Despite measurable changes in neuroendocrine and affective functioning in response to metamphetamine, pretreatment with hydrocortisone did not significantly affect any of the variables measured. This suggests that this model of DA function is not affected by this regimen of corticosteroid administration.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hearn AJ, Gallagher P, Owen BM, Smith MS, Watson S, Young AH

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Psychopharmacology

Year: 2004

Volume: 171

Issue: 4

Pages: 458-464

ISSN (print): 0033-3158

ISSN (electronic): 1432-2072

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s00213-003-1609-5

PubMed id: 14504680


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