Validity of in vivo [(123)I]beta-CIT SPECT
in detecting MDMA-induced neurotoxicity in rats

De Win MM, De Jeu RA, De Bruin K, Habraken JB,
Reneman L, Booij J, Den Heeten GJ.
Department of Radiology,
University of Amsterdam,
Academic Medical Center,
Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2004 May;14(3):185-9


This study investigated the ability of a high-resolution pinhole single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) system, with [(123)I]beta-CIT as a radiotracer, to detect 3,4-methelenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, 'Ecstasy')-induced loss of serotonin transporters (SERTs) in the living rat brain. In vivo striatal and thalamic [(123)I]beta-CIT binding ratios, representing specific binding to dopamine and serotonin transporters, respectively, were determined 7 days before as well as 10 days after treatment of rats with neurotoxic doses of MDMA using SPECT. At the end of the experiment, radioactivity ratios were also determined ex vivo, and compared to control data. Both in vivo and ex vivo, thalamic, but not striatal, uptake ratios were statistical significantly reduced after MDMA treatment. These data show that [(123)I]beta-CIT SPECT may be able to detect MDMA-induced loss of SERTs. Therefore, this may be a promising technique to perform serial studies on MDMA-induced serotonergic neurotoxicity in living small animals.

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