The recreational drug, (±)3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, 'Ecstasy'), is a potent serotonin (5-HT) neurotoxin in animals. Whether humans who use MDMA incur 5-HT neural injury is unknown. The present studies utilized positron emission tomography (PET) in conjunction with the 5-HT transporter ligand, [11C]McN-5652 to assess the status of brain 5-HT neurons in human MDMA users. Like nonhuman primates treated with neurotoxic doses of MDMA, humans with a history of MDMA use showed lasting decrements in global brain [11C]McN-5652 binding, with decreases in [11C]McN-5652 binding positively correlated to the extent of previous MDMA use. These results suggest that human MDMA use results in brain 5-HT neurotoxicity. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.
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