A study of the effect of a single neurotoxic dose of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; "ecstasy") on the subsequent long-term behaviour of rats in the plus maze and open field.Psychopharmacology (Berl) 2002; 159(2):167-75P
Decreased 5-HT function has been shown to induce behaviour consistent with an "anxiolytic" effect. Administration of a single dose of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; "ecstasy" 12.5 mg/kg IP) to rats results in prolonged damage to central serotonergic nerve terminals. Thus we wished to assess whether an MDMA-induced lesion may have longer-term behavioural consequences.
The study was designed to examine the behaviour of MDMA-pretreated and control animals in the elevated plus-maze and open field at a number of time-points, up to 80 days, after the administration of a single neurotoxic dose of MDMA (12.5 mg/kg IP).
MDMA-pretreated Dark Agouti rats demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in anxiety-related behaviour, compared to saline-pretreated control rats, in both the elevated plus-maze and open field when the rats were tested on day 73 (open field) and day 80 (plus maze) after MDMA administration.
The behavioural consequences of a single neurotoxic dose of MDMA can be demonstrated over 2 months after administration of the compound, thereby indicating that long-term adaptive changes occur within the brain following the neurodegeneration of 5-HT neurones produced by this recreationally used drug.