Involvement of free radicals in
MDMA-induced neurotoxicity in mice

Cadet JL, Thiriet N, Jayanthi S.
Molecular Neuropsychiatry Section,
Division of Intramural Research,
Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.
Ann Med Interne (Paris) 2001 Apr;152 Suppl 3:IS57-9


3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) or ecstasy) is a substituted amphetamine with stimulating and hallucinogenic properties. Administration of MDMA leads to the formation of metabolites responsible for its toxic effects on serotonergic neurons in rats and non-human primates and on dopaminergic neurons in mice. Our findings indicate that overexpression of the human superoxide dismutase gene (Cu/Zn-SOD) abolishes certain effects of MDMA such as the decreased level of dopamine, DOPAC and 5-HT in the striatum, inactivation of certain antioxidant enzymes (CU/ZN-SPD, catalase or glutathione peroxidase) or peroxidation of lipids. These data are in agreement with the implication of free radicals and consequenty of oxidative stress in the mode of action of MDMA.

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