Disruption of the discriminative stimulus effects of S(+)-3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) by (+/-)-MDMA neurotoxicity: protection by fluoxetine
by
Virden TB, Baker LE
Department of Psychology,
Western Michigan University,
Kalamazoo 49008, USA.
tvirden@imap4.asu.edu
Behav Pharmacol 1999 Mar; 10(2):195-204


ABSTRACT

This study utilized drug discrimination procedures to assess the functional consequences of (+/-)-3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)-induced serotonin depletion, and to determine whether concomitant injections of fluoxetine averted these effects. Twelve male Sprague-Dawley rats were trained to discriminate S(+)-MDMA (1.5 mg/kg, s.c.) from saline in a two-lever, water-reinforced operant procedure. After dose generalization tests were completed, training was suspended, and subjects were administered saline injections twice daily for four days. Ten days later, tests were conducted with S(+)-MDMA (1.5 mg/kg) and saline, to ascertain that discriminative stimulus control was maintained in the absence of training over a two-week period. All subjects received two additional weeks of training. Subsequently, (+/-)-MDMA (20 mg/kg, s.c.) was administered twice daily for four days, concomitantly with either 5.0 mg/kg fluoxetine (FLX) or saline (SAL) injections, and stimulus generalization tests with S(+)-MDMA and SAL were conducted after ten days. In the rats administered (+/-)-MDMA + SAL injections, S(+)-MDMA-appropriate responding dropped from 99.24% to 44.99% during S(+)-MDMA generalization tests, and rose from 2.78% to 22.14% during SAL generalization tests. This disruption did not occur, however, in rats administered the combination of (+/-)-MDMA and FLX injections. Subsequent training reestablished discriminative stimulus control by S(+)-MDMA in the (+/-)-MDMA + SAL-treated rats. Postmortem neurochemical assays indicated that 5-HT levels were significantly reduced in the prefrontal cortices of rats given (+/-)-MDMA + SAL, compared to both drug-naive control rats and (+/-)-MDMA + FLX-treated rats. 5-HIAA levels were significantly lower in the prefrontal cortices of both (+/-)-MDMA + SAL-treated rats and (+/-)-MDMA + FLX-treated rats, relative to control. These results support previous findings that fluoxetine protects against (+/-)-MDMA-induced 5-HT depletion. Moreover, this study demonstrated that drug discrimination is a sensitive assay in which to examine behavioral correlates of (+/-)-MDMA-induced serotonergic deficits, and the protection against these deficits by fluoxetine.
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