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1998 Dafters MDMA Thermoregulation Study
Abstract
Persistent loss of thermoregulation in the rat induced by 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or 'Ecstasy') but not by fenfluramine,
by R.I. Dafters; E. Lynch
Psychopharmacology Vol 138, 1998; 207-212




Using radio-biotelemetry, the timecourse of recovery and sensitivity to ambient temperature (Ta) of the thermogenic response of methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or "Ecstasy") was examined. Ambient temperatures of 17 and 22C produced very different response profiles, with the lower temperature producing a hypothermic response to 10 and 15 mg/kg doses of MDMA, and the higher temperature producing a profound hyperthermia to the same doses. Although the peak responses to the drug had subsided within 5 h of administration, residual effects, in the form of an elevation of body temperature during the "low" phase of the diurnal cycle, were present for a further 48 h. Long-lasting disruption of the thermoregulatory system following a short series of MDMA administrations (10 mg/kg once per day for 4 days) was shown by exposing the rats in the undrugged state to a thermoregulatory challenge, consisting of 60-min exposure to a Ta of 30C, at 1 week before, and at 4 weeks and 14 weeks after the drug administration. MDMA-treated rats showed a prolonged hyperthermic response to the challenge at both post-drug intervals compared with fenfluramine-treated rats and saline-treated controls. Thus, the results indicate both that MDMA's thermogenic effects are more sensitive to Ta than previously demonstrated, and that the serotonergic neurotoxicity of the drug may produce long-lasting changes in thermoregulatory mechanisms.