Partial MHC/Neuroantigen Peptide Constructs: A Potential Neuroimmune-Based Treatment for Methamphetamine Addiction

Jennifer M. Loftis, Clare J. Wilhelm, Arthur A. Vandenbark, Marilyn Huckans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Relapse rates following current methamphetamine abuse treatments are very high (~40-60%), and the neuropsychiatric impairments (e.g., cognitive deficits, mood disorders) that arise and persist during remission from methamphetamine addiction likely contribute to these high relapse rates. Pharmacotherapeutic development of medications to treat addiction has focused on neurotransmitter systems with only limited success, and there are no Food and Drug Administration approved pharmacotherapies for methamphetamine addiction. A growing literature shows that methamphetamine alters peripheral and central immune functions and that immune factors such as cytokines, chemokines, and adhesion molecules play a role in the development and persistence of methamphetamine induced neuronal injury and neuropsychiatric impairments. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a new immunotherapy, partial MHC/neuroantigen peptide construct (RTL551; pI-Ab/mMOG-35-55), in treating learning and memory impairments induced by repeated methamphetamine exposure. C57BL/6J mice were exposed to two different methamphetamine treatment regimens (using repeated doses of 4 mg/kg or 10 mg/kg, s.c.). Cognitive performance was assessed using the Morris water maze and CNS cytokine levels were measured by multiplex assay. Immunotherapy with RTL551 improved the memory impairments induced by repeated methamphetamine exposure in both mouse models of chronic methamphetamine addiction. Treatment with RTL551 also attenuated the methamphetamine induced increases in hypothalamic interleukin-2 (IL-2) levels. Collectively, these initial results indicate that neuroimmune targeted therapies, and specifically RTL551, may have potential as treatments for methamphetamine-induced neuropsychiatric impairments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere56306
JournalPloS one
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 27 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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