Brain serotonin transporter binding in former users of MDMA ('ecstasy')
by
Selvaraj S, Hoshi R, Bhagwagar Z, Murthy NV,
Hinz R, Cowen P, Curran HV, Grasby P.
PET Psychiatry, Cyclotron Building,
MRC Clinical Sciences Centre,
Imperial College, Hammersmith Hospital,
London W12 0NN, UK.
Br J Psychiatry. 2009 Apr;194(4):355-9.


ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Animal experimental studies have prompted concerns that widespread use of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; 'ecstasy') by young people may pose a major public health problem in terms of persistent serotonin neurotoxicity. AIMS: To determine the status of brain serotonin neurons in a group of abstinent MDMA users. METHOD: We assessed the integrity of brain serotonin neurons by measuring serotonin transporter (SERT) binding using positron emission tomography (PET) and [(11)C]DASB in 12 former MDMA users, 9 polydrug users who had never taken MDMA and 19 controls who reported no history of illicit drug use. RESULTS: There was no significant difference in the binding potential of [(11)C]DASB between the groups in any of the brain regions examined. CONCLUSIONS: To the extent that [(11)C]DASB binding provides an index of the integrity of serotonin neurons, our findings suggest that MDMA use may not result in long-term damage to serotonin neurons when used recreationally in humans. .

Long-term brain damage?
Toxic metabolites of MDMA?
MDMA and sympathetic activity
A toxic intraneuronal metabolite of serotonin?
Electrophysiological evidence of 5-HT damage
Non-neurotoxic and neurotoxic serotonin-releasers
Ecstasy-induced toxicity and the dopamine transporter
5-HT, 5-HIAA, norepinephrine, epinephrine and dopamine
Molecular and cellular mechanisms of MDMA (Ecstasy)-induced neurotoxicity


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