Synthesis, in vitro formation, and behavioural effects of glutathione regioisomers of alpha-methyldopamine with relevance to MDA and MDMA (ecstasy)
Easton N, Fry J, O'Shea E, Watkins A, Kingston S, Marsden CA.
School of Biomedical Sciences,
University of Nottingham,
Queens Medical Centre, NG7 2UH,
Nottingham, UK
Brain Res. 2003 Oct 17;987(2):144-54.


Administration of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) or 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) to rats produces serotonergic nerve terminal degeneration. However, they are not neurotoxic when injected directly into the brain, suggesting the requirement for peripheral metabolism of MDMA to a neurotoxic metabolite. Alpha-methyldopamine (alpha-MeDA) is a major metabolite of MDA. There are indications that a glutathione metabolite of alpha-MeDA and/or 3,4-dihydroxymethamphetamine may be responsible for the neurotoxicity and some of the behavioural effects produced by MDMA and/or MDA. The present study details the synthesis, purification and separation of the 5-(glutathion-S-yl)-alpha-MeDA and 6-(glutathion-S-yl)-alpha-MeDA regioisomers of alpha-MeDA. Incubation of MDA with human liver microsomes demonstrated that production of both glutathione adducts are related to cytochrome P450 2D6 isoform activity. Following intracerebroventricular administration (180 nmol) of either GSH adduct into Dark Agouti or Sprague-Dawley rats only 5-(glutathion-S-yl)-alpha-MeDA produced behavioural effects characterised by hyperactivity, teeth chattering, tremor/trembling, head weaving, splayed posture, clonus and wet dog shakes. Pre-treatment with a dopamine receptor antagonist (haloperidol, 0.25 mg/kg; i.p.) attenuated hyperactivity, teeth chattering, low posture and clonus and potentiated splayed postural effects. These results indicate that MDA can be converted into two glutathione regioisomers by human liver microsomes, but only the 5-(glutathion-S-yl)-alpha-MeDA adduct is behaviourally active in the rat.

Club drugs
Liver failure
Brain damage?
Kidney damage
Deaths in New York
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
MDMA (Ecstasy) : neuropharmacology and neurotoxicity
5-HT, 5-HIAA, norepinephrine, epinephrine and dopamine
Lack of serotonin neurotoxicity after intracerebral Ecstasy microinjection

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