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Malpass A, White JM, Irvine RJ, Somogyi AA, Bochner F. 
“Acute toxicity of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) in Sprague-Dawley and Dark Agouti rats”. 
Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1999 Sep;64(1):29-34.
Ingestion of MDMA ('ecstasy') by humans can cause acute toxicity manifested by hyperthermia and death. Demethylenation of MDMA is catalyzed by cytochrome P-450 2D6 (CYP2D6) and cytochrome P-450 2D1 (CYP2D1) in humans and rats, respectively, and is polymorphically expressed. It has been proposed that CYP2D6 deficiency may account for the unexplained toxicity of MDMA. The female Dark Agouti rat is deficient in CYP2D1, and serves as a model for the human poor metabolizer. We investigated thermogenic and locomotor actions of MDMA in adult female Sprague-Dawley (CYP2D1 replete) and Dark Agouti rats. MDMA (2, 5, and 10 mg/kg) and saline were injected subcutaneously at ambient temperatures of 22 and 31 degrees C. There was no difference in core temperature responses between the two rat strains. Hypothermia occurred in the first 30 min and temperature elevation thereafter. MDMA increased locomotor activity in Sprague-Dawley but not in Dark Agouti rats. However, MDMA had pronounced lethal effects at 31 degrees C ambient in the Dark Agouti rats only. We conclude that the poor metaboliser phenotype may predispose to lethality, but the mechanism is as yet unknown.
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