Persistent loss of thermoregulation in the rat induced by 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or "Ecstasy") but not by fenfluramine
Dafters RI, Lynch E
Psychology Department,
Glasgow University, UK.
Psychopharmacology (Berl) 1998 Jul; 138(2):207-12


Using radio-biotelemetry, the timecourse of recovery and sensitivity to ambient temperature (Ta) of the thermogenic response of methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or "Ecstasy") was examined. Ambient temperatures of 17 and 22 degrees C produced very different response profiles, with the lower temperature producing a hypothermic response to 10 and 15 mg/kg doses of MDMA, and the higher temperature producing a profound hyperthermia to the same doses. Although the peak responses to the drug had subsided within 5 h of administration, residual effects, in the form of an elevation of body temperature during the "low" phase of the diurnal cycle, were present for a further 48 h. Long-lasting disruption of the thermoregulatory system following a short series of MDMA administrations (10 mg/kg once per day for 4 days) was shown by exposing the rats in the undrugged state to a thermoregulatory challenge, consisting of 60-min exposure to a Ta of 30 degrees C, at 1 week before, and at 4 weeks and 14 weeks after the drug administration. MDMA-treated rats showed a prolonged hyperthermic response to the challenge at both post-drug intervals compared with fenfluramine-treated rats and saline-treated controls. Thus, the results indicate both that MDMA's thermogenic effects are more sensitive to Ta than previously demonstrated, and that the serotonergic neurotoxicity of the drug may produce long-lasting changes in thermoregulatory mechanisms.

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