Effects of ecstasy on aldosterone secretion
in the rat in vivo and in vitro

Burns N, Olverman HJ,
Kelly PA, Williams BC.
Department of Medicine,
Western General Hospital, Edinburgh.
Endocr Res. 1996 Nov;22(4):601-6


This study investigated the effects of Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) on aldosterone and renin secretion via, (1) acute administration of MDMA to conscious Wistar rats, and (2) superfusion of whole rat adrenal capsules with 1 microM and 10 microM MDMA, in the presence of 5-HT. In study 1 basal aldosterone levels increased significantly from 3.490 +/- 1.1 nmol/l to 12.099 +/- 2 nmol/l after administration of MDMA (P < 0.05). Control rats showed no significant increase in aldosterone secretion. Basal plasma renin activity (PRA) was 6.86 +/- 1.65 ng/ml/hr in the MDMA treated animals increasing to 228.56 +/- 34.1 ng/ml/hr after administration (P < 0.05). In study 2 the aldosterone response to 5-HT was potentiated by 1 microM and 10 microM MDMA. No consistent stimulation of aldosterone was observed by MDMA alone. In conclusion, acute administration of MDMA to conscious rats causes activation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. In addition, MDMA can potentiate the direct action of 5-HT on aldosterone secretion in vitro by a mechanism which could be associated with the 5-HT transporter.

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