Partial lesion of the serotonergic system by a single dose of MDMA results in behavioural disinhibition and enhances acute MDMA-induced social behaviour on the social interaction test
Ando RD, Benko A, Ferrington L, Kirilly E, Kelly PA, Bagdy G.
Laboratory of Neurochemistry and Experimental Medicine
and Hungarian Academy of Science,
Group of Neuropsychopharmacology and Department of Vascular Neurology,
Semmelweis University, National Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology,
Huvosvolgyi ut 116, 1021 Budapest, Hungary.
Neuropharmacology. 2006 Feb 8;


The acute effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy) on anxiety-related behaviours were studied using indices of social interaction in Dark Agouti (DA) both drug naive rats and those pretreated with MDMA (15mg/kg i.p.) 3weeks earlier. The functional neuroanatomy of these MDMA effects was visualised using 2-deoxyglucose imaging of local cerebral glucose use (LCMRglu), whilst MDMA-induced serotonergic neurotoxicity was measured by radioligand binding with [(3)H]paroxetine. Acute MDMA alone markedly decreased most typical elements of social interaction but increased adjacent lying, a behaviour that also contains social elements. In animals pre-exposed to MDMA, decreased [(3)H]paroxetine binding indicated serotonergic terminal depletion, and in these animals significant increases in locomotor activity, exploratory behaviour and aggressive behaviour were found. Both behavioural effects and also the metabolic activation induced by acute MDMA were potentiated in rats previously exposed to the drug. In conclusion, a single dose of MDMA caused marked changes in social behaviour acutely that might be interpreted either as a decrease or increase in anxiety. Three weeks after MDMA a behavioural disinhibition similar to psychomotor agitation, a symptom connected to depression or mania, and a sensitization to the acute effects of MDMA are apparent in both the behavioural and brain metabolic effects of the drug.

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