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Muck-Seler D, Takahashi S, Diksic M. 
“The effect of MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) on the 5-HT synthesis rate in the rat brain: an autoradiographic study”. 
Brain Res. 1998 Nov 9;810(1-2):76-86.
The effect of MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), a psychotropic amphetamine derivative, treatment on the rate of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) synthesis in the rat brain was studied by autoradiography using alpha-[14C]-methyl-l-tryptophan method. Three different treatment protocols were compared to the control (saline) treated rats: (1) rats treated twice with 10 mg/kg every 12 h (20 mg/kg total) and injected tracer for the synthesis measurements 15 h later; (2) rats treated with four injections of 5 mg/kg every 12 h (20 mg/kg total) and injected tracer for the synthesis measurement 17 h after the last dose; and (3) rats given eight injections of 5 mg/kg every 12 h for four days (40 mg/kg) and used in the synthesis study 14 days after the last dose. Results showed a significant decrease in the rate of synthesis in the majority of cerebral structures examined in the 10 mg/kg group. In contrast the group receiving the same total amount (20 mg/kg) of MDMA but over two days (4x5 mg/kg) showed a significant increase in 5-HT synthesis in comparison to controls. The 5-HT synthesis rates measured 14 days after the last dose (four days, 8x5 mg/kg) were significantly reduced. The findings suggest that MDMA can produce either an increase or a decrease in the 5-HT synthesis a short time after a total dose of 20 mg/kg depending on the dose fractionation. However, 14 days after total dose of 40 mg/kg given over four days the synthesis rate was significantly reduced in many brain structures. The latter suggests a possible effect of the MDMA neurotoxicity on the serotonergic neurons, in addition to a possible influence on 5-HT synthesis via a feedback mechanism.
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