Methylone-induced hyperthermia and lethal toxicity: Role of the dopamine and serotonin transporters

Ying Shan Piao, Frank Scott Hall, Yuki Moriya, Miki Ito, Arihisa Ohara, Ruri Kikura-Hanajiri, Yukihiro Goda, Klaus Peter Lesch, Dennis L. Murphy, George R. Uhl, Ichiro Sora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Methylone (2-methylamino-1-[3,4-methylenedioxy-phenyl]propan-1-one), an amphetamine analog, has emerged as a popular drug of abuse worldwide. Methylone induces hyperthermia, which is thought to contribute toward the lethal consequences of methylone overdose. Methylone has been assumed to induce hyperthermic effects through inhibition of serotonin and/or dopamine transporters (SERT and DAT, respectively). To examine the roles of each of these proteins in methylone-induced toxic effects, we used SERT and DAT knockout (KO) mice and assessed the hyperthermic and lethal effects caused by a single administration of methylone. Methylone produced higher rates of lethal toxicity compared with other amphetamine analogs in wild-type mice. Compared with wild-type mice, lethality was significantly lower in DAT KO mice, but not in SERT KO mice. By contrast, only a slight diminution in the hyperthermic effects of methylone was observed in DAT KO mice, whereas a slight enhancement of these effects was observed in SERT KO mice. Administration of the selective D1 receptor antagonist SCH 23390 and the D2 receptor antagonist raclopride reduced methylone-induced hyperthermia, but these drugs also had hypothermic effects in saline-treated mice, albeit to a smaller extent than the effects observed in methylone-treated mice. In contradistinction to 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, which induces its toxicity through SERT and DAT, these data indicate that DAT, but not SERT, is strongly associated with the lethal toxicity produced by methylone, which did not seem to be dependent on the hyperthermic effects of methylone. DAT is therefore a strong candidate molecule for interventions aimed at preventing acute neurotoxic and lethal effects of methylone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-352
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioural Pharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 22 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • dopamine
  • hyperthermia
  • knockout mice
  • lethality
  • methylone
  • serotonin
  • toxicity
  • transporter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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