No effect of MDMA (ecstasy) on cell death and 5-HT(2A)
receptor density in organotypic rat hippocampal cultures

by
Sveen ML, Knudsen GM, Aznar S.
Neurobiology Research Unit,
Copenhagen University Hospital,
Unit 9201, Blegdamsvej 9,
2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.
Neurosci Lett. 2004 May 13;362(1):6-9


ABSTRACT

MDMA (3,4 Methylenedioxy-methamphetamine) binds and blocks the presynaptic serotonin reuptake transporters and postsynaptic serotonin 5-HT(2A) receptors, with highest affinity for the first. Whether 5-HT(2A) receptor density decreases due to MDMA's direct effect on postsynaptic serotonin receptors is at present not known. This study analyzes whether direct stimulation of the postsynaptic 5-HT(2A) receptor by MDMA in organotypic hippocampal cultures results in cell death and downregulation of this receptor. Fifty or 100 microM MDMA was added to 1 week old cultures, made of 11 day old rat pups. Fluorojade and immunostaining for MAP2 and 5-HT(2A) to determine neurodegeneration, and changes in receptor density, respectively, resulted in no significant differences. MDMA's neurotoxicity and regulation of post-synaptic 5-HT(2A) receptors thus seems to require the presence of intact serotonergic terminals.

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