Females are highly vulnerable to the effects of methamphetamine, and understanding the mechanisms of this is critical to addressing methamphetamine use as a public health issue. Hormones may play a role in methamphetamine sensitivity; thus, the fluctuation of various endogenous peptides during the postpartum experience is of interest. This honors thesis project explored the relation between anxiety-like behavior, as measured by activity in an open field, and conditioned place preference to methamphetamine in female versus male rats. The behavior of postpartum as well as virgin female rats was compared to that of male rats. There was not a significant difference between males and females in conditioned place preference to methamphetamine, yet females showed higher locomotor activity in response to the drug as well as increased anxiety-like behavior in open field testing as compared to males. Further study is vital to comprehending the complex mechanisms of sex differences in methamphetamine addiction.
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