The recreational drug (±)3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, 'Ecstasy') is a potent and selective brain serotonin (5-HT) neurotoxin in animals and, possibly, in humans. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether brain 5-HT deficits persist in squirrel monkeys beyond the 18-month period studied previously and to identify factors that influence recovery of injured 5-HT axons. Seven years after treatment, abnormal brain 5-HT innervation patterns were still evident in MDMA-treated monkeys, although 5-HT deficits in some regions were less severe than those observed at 18 months. No loss of 5-HT nerve cell bodies in the rostral raphe nuclei was found, indicating that abnormal innervation patterns in MDMA-treated monkeys are not the result of loss of a particular 5-HT nerve cell group. Factors that influence recovery of 5-HT axons after MDMA injury are (1) the distance of the affected axon terminal field from the rostral raphe nuclei, (2) the degree of initial 5-HT axonal injury, and possibly (3) the proximity of damaged 5-HT axons to myelinated fiber tracts. Additional studies are needed to better understand these and other factors that influence the response of primate 5-HT neurons to MDMA injury and to determine whether the present findings generalize to humans who use MDMA for recreational purposes.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Journal of Neuroscience|
|State||Published - Jun 15 1999|
- 5-HT axon
- Regenerati on
ASJC Scopus subject areas