Orally administered MDMA causes a long-term depletion of serotonin in rat brain

K. T. Finnegan, G. A. Ricaurte, L. D. Ritchie, I. Irwin, S. J. Peroutka, J. W. Langston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent studies suggest that 3,4-methylenedioxymethylamphetamine (MDMA), when administered subcutaneously, is toxic to central serotonergic neurons in rats. Because humans typically self-administer this drug orally, we compared this route to the s.c. route of administration. Orally administered MDMA produced a dose-related depletion of serotonin comparable to that produced by the s.c. route. These findings suggest that MDMA, when given orally, retains its neurotoxic activity and that humans using MDMA may be at risk for developing a persistent depletion of brain serotonin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-144
Number of pages4
JournalBrain research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 26 1988


  • 3,4-Methylenedioxymethylamphetamine
  • Amphetamine analog
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Route of administration
  • Serotonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

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