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Battaglia G, Yeh SY, O'Hearn E, Molliver ME, Kuhar MJ, De Souza EB. 
“3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine and 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine destroy serotonin terminals in rat brain: quantification of neurodegeneration by measurement of [3H]paroxetine-labeled serotonin uptake sites”. 
J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1987;242(3):911-6.
This study examines the effects of repeated systemic administration (20 mg/kg s.c., twice daily for 4 days) of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) on levels of brain monoamines, their metabolites and on the density of monoamine uptake sites in various regions of rat brain. Marked reductions (30-60%) in the concentration of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid were observed in cerebral cortex, hippocampus, striatum, hypothalamus and midbrain at 2 weeks after a 4-day treatment regimen of MDMA or MDA; less consistent reductions in serotonin (5-HT) content were observed in these brain regions. In addition, both MDMA and MDA caused comparable and substantial reductions (50-75%) in the density of [3H]paroxetine-labeled 5-HT uptake sites in all brain regions examined. In contrast, neither MDMA nor MDA caused any widespread or long-term changes in the content of the catecholaminergic markers (i.e., norepinephrine, dopamine, 3,4 dihydroxyphenylacetic acid and homovanillic acid) or in the number of [3H]mazindol-labeled norepinephrine or dopamine uptake sites in the brain regions examined. These data demonstrate that MDMA and MDA cause long-lasting neurotoxic effects with respect to both the functional and structural integrity of serotonergic neurons in brain. Furthermore, our measurement of reductions in the density of 5-HT uptake sites provides a means for quantification of the neurodegenerative effects of MDMA and MDA on presynaptic 5-HT terminals.
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