This investigation examined the effects of methamphetamine (METH) on performance of rats using the Morris water maze and on the morphology of the hippocampus. Twelve adult Wistar rats were used for this study. Animals were randomly assigned into two groups (A and B) of six each. Group A rats served as control and were given normal saline. Group B animals were given single administration of METH (10 mg/kg, i.p.). Animals were subjected to behavioural studies on the water maze prior to treatment. Three days following METH administration, animals were again subjected to behavioural studies, sacrificed, brain excised and processed histologically. Results showed high level of methamphetamine-induced stereotypic movement. There was no significant difference in behavioural performance of the rats on water maze prior to treatments, but group B rats showed significantly poor performance after treatment when compared to control (P<0.05). Histological analysis revealed extensive neuronal destruction of the pyramidal layer of the hippocampus following methamphetamine administration. In conclusion, this study has shown the neuro-destructive effects of METH on the hippocampus and such degenerating effects could affect the learning, memory and possibly spatial navigation ability of rats during the water maze task.
Key words: Methamphetamine, hippocampus, behavioural studies, Morris water maze.
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