MDMA-evoked changes in cerebral blood flow in living porcine brain: Correlation with hyperthermia

Pedro Rosa-Neto, Aage K. Olsen, Albert Gjedde, Hideaki Watanabe, Paul Gumming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) acutely releases intraneuronal dopamine and serotonin and evokes hyperthermia which is linked to toxicity for serotonin fibers. The acute effects of MDMA on cerebral blood flow (CBF) in living brain have not been described in an animal model of MDMA intoxication. We predicted that MDMA-induced hyperthermia should correlate with increased CBF in the hypothalamus, a serotonin-rich brain region subserving thermoregulation. To test this prediction, we used positron emission tomography with statistical parametric mapping for exploratory analysis of the focal changes in the magnitude of CBF in the anesthetized female Landrace pig (n = 9) at 30 and 150 min after acute challenge with MDMA-HCl (1 mg/kg, i.V.). The MDMA treatment was followed by increased CBF in the occipital cortex and in the medial mesencephalon overlapping the dorsal raphé nucleus, and reduced CBF in the cerebellar vermis and in a cluster in the medulla encompassing the left locus coeruleus. The individual increase of body temperature correlated positively with increased CBF in the vicinity of the raphé nucleus, in the hypothalamus (regions linked to thermoregulation), and also in the medial frontal cortex, which together comprise the regions receiving the most dense serotonin innervations in pig brain. Thus, individual differences in the susceptibility to MDMA-induced hyperthermia in this population correlated with the magnitude of focal increases in CBF within specific brain regions endowed with a dense serotonin innervation, including regions linked to thermoregulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214-221
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 15 2004


  • 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine
  • Brain
  • CBF
  • Drug effects
  • Hyperthermia
  • MDMA
  • Thermoregulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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