Erowid References Database
Marston HM, Reid ME, Lawrence JA, Olverman HJ, Butcher SP.
“Behavioural analysis of the acute and chronic effects of MDMA treatment in the rat”.
Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1999 May;144(1):67-76.
RATIONALE: A variety of animal models have shown MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) to be a selective 5-HT neurotoxin, though little is known of the long-term behavioural effects of the pathophysiology. The widespread recreational use of MDMA thus raises concerns over the long-term functional sequelae in humans.
OBJECTIVE: This study was designed to explore both the acute- and post-treatment consequences of a 3-day neurotoxic exposure to MDMA in the rat, using a variety of behavioural paradigms.
METHODS: Following training to pretreatment performance criteria, animals were treated twice daily with ascending doses of MDMA (10, 15, 20 mg/kg) over 3 days. Body temperature, locomotor activity, skilled paw-reaching ability and performance of the delayed non-match to place (DNMTP) procedure was assessed daily during this period and on an intermittent schedule over the following 16 days. Finally, post mortem biochemical analyses of [3H] citalopram binding and monoamine levels were performed.
RESULTS: During the MDMA treatment period, an acute 5-HT-like syndrome was observed which showed evidence of tolerance. Once drug treatment ceased the syndrome abated completely. During the post-treatment phase, a selective, delay-dependent, deficit in DNMTP performance developed. Post-mortem analysis confirmed reductions in markers of 5-HT function, in cortex, hippocampus and striatum. CONCLUSIONS: These results confirm that acutely MDMA exposure elicits a classical 5-HT syndrome. In the long-term, exposure results in 5-HT neurotoxicity and a lasting cognitive impairment. These results have significant implications for the prediction that use of MDMA in humans could have deleterious long-term neuropsychological/psychiatric consequences.
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