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O'Shea E, Easton N, Fry JR, Green AR, Marsden CA. 
“Protection against 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine-induced neurodegeneration produced by glutathione depletion in rats is mediated by attenuation of hyperthermia”. 
J Neurochem. 2002;81(4):686-695.
3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) administration produces neurotoxic degeneration of serotonin terminals in rat brain. These effects occur only after systemic administration and not after central injection, suggesting that peripheral metabolism, possibly hepatic, is required for toxicity. Glutathione is one of the principal cellular defence mechanisms, but conjugation with glutathione can, on some occasions, increase the reactivity of certain molecules. Previous studies have shown that central administration of glutathione adducts of a MDMA metabolite produces a neurotoxicity profile similar to that of systemic MDMA. In the present study, depletion of peripheral (hepatic) glutathione by 43% with dl-buthionine-(S,R)-sulfoximine (an inhibitor of glutathione synthesis) did not attenuate MDMA-induced neurotoxicity as indicated by the 34% loss of [(3) H]paroxetine binding to the serotonin uptake sites in Dark Agouti rats treated with the inhibitor. However, a more profound depletion (92%) of glutathione by diethylmaleate (direct conjugation) administration significantly reduced the serotonergic neurotoxicity produced by MDMA. This depletion protocol also attenuated the hyperthermic response to MDMA. A combination protocol utilising both buthionine-(S,R)-sulfoximine and diethylmaleate that did not alter the hyperthermic response of the rats given MDMA also failed to attenuate the neurotoxicity. These findings indicate that glutathione depletion does not offer specific protection against MDMA-induced serotonin neurotoxicity in Dark Agouti rats.
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