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Scheffel U, Szabo Z, Mathews WB, Finley PA, Dannals RF, Ravert HT, Szabo K, Yuan J, Ricaurte GA. 
“In vivo detection of short- and long-term MDMA neurotoxicity--a positron emission tomography study in the living baboon brain”. 
Synapse. 1998 Jun;29(2):183-92.
The present study evaluated short-term and long-term effects of MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) in the baboon brain using PET and [ 11 C](1)McN 5652, a potent 5-HT transporter ligand, as well as [ 11 C]RTI-55, a cocaine derivative which labels both 5-HT and dopamine transporters. Following baseline PET scans with [ 11 C](1)McN5652, [ 11 C](2)McN5652 (the inactive enantiomer of the active enantiomer [ 11 C](1)McN5652) and [ 11 C]RTI-55, a baboon was treated with MDMA (5 mg/kg, s.c.,twice daily for four consecutive days). PET studies at 13, 19, and 40 days post-MDMA revealed decreases in mean radioactivity levels in all brain regions when using [ 11 C](1)McN 5652, but not with [ 11 C](2)McN5652 or [ 11 C]RTI-55. Reductions in specific [ 11 C](1)McN5652 binding (calculated as the difference in radioactivity concentrations between (1) and (2)[11 C]McN5652) ranged from 44% in the pons to 89% in the occipital cortex. PET studies at 9 and 13 months showed regional differences in the apparent recovery of 5-HT transporters, with increases in some brain regions (e.g., hypothalamus ) and persistent decreases in others (e.g., neocortex). Data obtained from PET studies correlated well with regional 5-HT axonal marker concentrations in the CNS measured after sacrifice of the animal. The results of these studies indicate that PET imaging of the living nonhuman primate brain with [ 11 C](1)McN 5652 can detect changes in regional 5-HT transporter density secondary to MDMA-induced neurotoxicity. Using PET, it should also be feasible to use [ 11 C](1)McN5652 to determine whether human MDMA users are also susceptible to MDMA’s neurotoxic effects.
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