Anxiogenic-like activity of 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine ("Ecstasy") in the social interaction test is accompanied by an increase of c-fos expression in mice amygdala
by
Navarro JF, Rivera A, Maldonado E, Cavas M, de la Calle A.
Department of Psychobiology, Faculty of Psychology,
University of Malaga, Campus de Teatinos,
s/n 29071, Malaga, Spain
Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2004 Mar;28(2):249-254


ABSTRACT

3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is a synthetic amphetamine popularly known as "Ecstasy." Animal studies examining acute effects of MDMA on anxiety are unclear because although an anxiolytic-like action of MDMA in different animal models of anxiety has been described, there is also substantial evidence supporting an anxiogenic-like effect of this drug. To date, several studies have examined c-fos expression following MDMA administration in rats. However, there is no information about the MDMA-induced c-fos expression in mice previously tested in an animal model of anxiety. In this study, male mice were injected with MDMA (1, 8 and 15 mg/kg ip) and assessed for changes on anxiety and for the expression of the immediate early gene c-fos in the amygdala (central, basolateral and basomedial). Anxiety was evaluated by the "social interaction test." Ten behavioral categories were recorded: body care, digging, nonsocial exploration, exploration from a distance, social investigation, threat, attack, avoidance/flee, defense/submission and immobility. As compared with the control group, mice treated with MDMA (all doses) showed a decrease in mean duration and total time spent in social investigation behaviors, whereas avoidance/flee behaviors were significantly increased after treatment with this compound (8 and 15 mg/kg). Likewise, a significant increase in c-fos expression was found in the basolateral (all doses) and central (15 mg/kg) amygdala after MDMA administration. Overall, these findings indicate that MDMA exhibits an anxiogenic-like profile in the social interaction test in mice, and that central and basolateral amygdala might be involved in these anxiogenic-like effects of the drug.

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