MDMA- and p-chlorophenylalanine-induced reduction in 5-HT concentrations: Effects on serotonin transporter densities

Brendon P. Boot, Annis O. Mechan, Una D McCann, George Ricaurte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Low levels of serotonin may reduce the density of the serotonin transporter (SERT) by either increasing trafficking or reducing synthesis; a "neuroadaptive response". To determine whether 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)-induced reductions in SERT density could be related to such a mechanism, p-chlorophenylalanine or MDMA was administered to rats, and brain serotonin and SERT density were measured. As expected, both treatments led to serotonin depletion 1, 7 and 14 days later. However, only MDMA reduced SERT density. This observation suggests that MDMA-induced reductions in SERT density do not represent neuroadaptive responses to decreased levels of brain serotonin, but may occur in response to some other stimulus or to the neurotoxic effects of MDMA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-244
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Oct 25 2002



  • 5-HT
  • MDMA
  • Neuroadaptation
  • p-Chlorophenylalanine
  • Serotonin transporter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology

Cite this