(±3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine Selectively Damages Central Serotonergic Neurons in Nonhuman Primates

George A. Ricaurte, Lysia S. Forno, Mary A. Wilson, Louis E. Delanney, Ian Irwin, Mark E. Molliver, J. William Langston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

(±)3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is a popular recreational drug that has been proposed to be useful as an adjunct to psychotherapy. This study assessed the neurotoxic potential of MDMA in nonhuman primates. Monkeys were repeatedly administered doses (2.50, 3.75, and 5.00 mg/kg) of MDMA subcutaneously and analyzed for regional brain content of serotonin and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid two weeks later. In all regions of the monkey brain examined, MDMA produced a selective dose-related depletion of serotonin and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid. These neurochemical deficits were associated with evidence of structural damage to serotonergic nerve fibers. In addition, MDMA produced pathological changes in nerve cell bodies in the dorsal, but not median, raphe nucleus. These results indicate that MDMA is a selective serotonergic neurotoxin in nonhuman primates and that humans using this drug may be at risk for incurring central serotonergic neuronal damage.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages51-55
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Medical Association
Volume260
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 1988

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Serotonergic Neurons
N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine
Primates
Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid
Haplorhini
Serotonin
Raphe Nuclei
Neurotoxins
Brain
Street Drugs
Nerve Fibers
Psychotherapy
Neurons
Pharmaceutical Preparations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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(±3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine Selectively Damages Central Serotonergic Neurons in Nonhuman Primates. / Ricaurte, George A.; Forno, Lysia S.; Wilson, Mary A.; Delanney, Louis E.; Irwin, Ian; Molliver, Mark E.; Langston, J. William.

In: Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 260, No. 1, 01.07.1988, p. 51-55.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ricaurte, George A. ; Forno, Lysia S. ; Wilson, Mary A. ; Delanney, Louis E. ; Irwin, Ian ; Molliver, Mark E. ; Langston, J. William. / (±3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine Selectively Damages Central Serotonergic Neurons in Nonhuman Primates. In: Journal of the American Medical Association. 1988 ; Vol. 260, No. 1. pp. 51-55
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