The study, described in the journal PLoS ONE, tracks changes in the expression of genes and proteins in fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) exposed to meth.
Unlike most studies of meth, which focus on the brain, the new analysis looked at molecular changes throughout the body, said University of Illinois entomology professor Barry Pittendrigh, who led the research.
“One of the great things about working with fruit flies is that because they’re small, we can work with the whole organism and then look at the great diversity of tissues that are being impacted,” Pittendrigh said. “This is important because we know that methamphetamine influences cellular processes associated with aging, it affects spermatogenesis, and it impacts the heart. One could almost call meth a perfect storm toxin because it does so much damage to so many different tissues in the body.”