Claremont, Calif. ( February 27, 2012) — Pitzer College student Gabriel Loewinger ’12 has coauthored a paper about methamphetamine that will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Neuropharmacology.
Loewinger’s paper, “Methamphetamine-induced dopamine terminal deficits in the nucleus accumbens are exacerbated by reward-associated cues and attenuated by CB1 receptor antagonism” examines the relationship between the environment in which methamphetamine is taken and the long-term effects of the drug.
“Administering the drug in an environment associated with rewards, i.e., food, is linked with greater methamphetamine-induced depletion of the neurotransmitter dopamine, a chemical involved in reward, learning and motivation,” Loewinger said. The paper also shows that blockade of “Cannabinoid receptors (type 1)”—which Loewinger describes as a drug that basically has the opposite effects of marijuana—reduces these negative effects on the dopamine system.
Loewinger conducted the research for this paper at the University of Maryland where he worked in a lab for a summer following his sophomore year at Pitzer. After independently designing the study, he received funding for his research and spent a semester in Baltimore running the study.
Loewinger is majoring in neuroscience at Pitzer.