Enhanced functional connectivity involving the ventromedial hypothalamus following methamphetamine exposure

Damian G. Zuloaga, Ovidiu D. Iancu, Sydney Weber, Desiree Etzel, Tessa Marzulla, Blair Stewart, Charles N. Allen, Jacob Raber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Methamphetamine (MA) consumption causes disruption of many biological rhythms including the sleep-wake cycle. This circadian effect is seen shortly following MA exposure and later in life following developmental MA exposure. MA phase shifts, entrains the circadian clock and can also alter the entraining effect of light by currently unknown mechanisms. We analyzed and compared immunoreactivity of the immediate early gene c-Fos, a marker of neuronal activity, to assess neuronal activation 2 h following MA exposure in the light and dark phases. We used network analyses of correlation patterns derived from global brain immunoreactivity patterns of c-Fos, to infer functional connectivity between brain regions. There were five distinct patterns of neuronal activation. In several brain areas, neuronal activation following exposure to MA was stronger in the light than the dark phase, highlighting the importance of considering circadian periods of increased effects of MA in defining experimental conditions and understanding the mechanisms underlying detrimental effects of MA exposure to brain function. Functional connectivity between the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) and other brain areas, including the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus and basolateral and medial amygdala, was enhanced following MA exposure, suggesting a role for the VMH in the effects of MA on the brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number326
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Issue numberSEP
StatePublished - 2015


  • Activation
  • Dark phase
  • Functional connectivity
  • Light phase
  • Methamphetamine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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