(±)3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine ('Ecstasy')-induced serotonin neurotoxicity: Clinical studies

Una D. McCann, Victoria Eligulashvili, George A. Ricaurte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

(±)3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, 'Ecstasy') is a brain serotonergic neurotoxin in experimental animals, including nonhuman primates. It is also an increasingly popular recreational drug of abuse, and doses of MDMA that are used recreationally overlap with those that produce serotonin (5-HT) neurotoxicity in animals. Studies in human MDMA users probing for evidence of brain serotonergic neurotoxicity indicate that some MDMA users may incur MDMA-related 5-HT neural injury and, possibly, functional sequelae. In particular, MDMA users have selective decrements in cerebrospinal fluid 5- hydroxyindoleacetic acid and brain 5-HT transporters, similar to nonhuman primates with documented MDMA-induced neurotoxicity. Functional abnormalities seen in MDMA users that may be related to 5-HT injury include cognitive deficits, altered sleep architecture, altered neuroendocrine function, altered behavioral responses to 5-HT selective drugs, and increased impulsivity. Additional studies in animals, as well as longitudinal and epidemiological studies in MDMA users, are required to confirm and extend the present data, and to determine whether MDMA users are at increased risk for developing neuropsychiatric illness as they age. (C) 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-16
Number of pages6
JournalNeuropsychobiology
Volume42
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

Keywords

  • (±)3,4- Methylenedioxymethamphetamine
  • Amphetamines
  • Neuroendoc rine function
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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