Sensitization to MDMA locomotor effects and changes in the functionality of 5-HT(2A) and D₂ receptors in mice.Behav Pharmacol. 2011 Aug; 22(4):362-9.BP
The behavioral and neurochemical adaptations related to chronic 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) treatment are largely unknown. In this study, we assessed whether repeated administration of MDMA would induce (a) context-dependent locomotor sensitization in mice and (b) changes in serotonin 5-HT(2A) and dopamine D₂ receptor functionality as measured by [³⁵S]GTPγS binding. Mice were treated with MDMA (10 mg/kg, intraperitoneally) or saline every other day for 11 days either in their home cages or in the environment where locomotor activity was measured. After a 10-day withdrawal period, mice were challenged with MDMA (5 and 10 mg/kg) and saline before locomotor activity measurements. During repeated MDMA treatment, locomotion was progressively enhanced, indicating the development of behavioral sensitization. The MDMA challenge at a dose of 5 mg/kg increased locomotor activity to a greater extent in mice pretreated with MDMA in the testing apparatus than in mice pretreated in the home cages, revealing that contextual cues paired with repeated drug exposure can enhance the expression of behavioral sensitization to MDMA. In contrast, a challenge administration of MDMA at 10 mg/kg induced similar locomotor sensitization in mice pretreated in both environments. An increase in the functionality of cortical 5-HT(2A) receptors was observed in mice pretreated with MDMA compared with mice pretreated with saline, but this activation was significantly greater in mice pretreated in the locomotor environment. In contrast, the functional activity of striatal D₂ receptors was significantly decreased only in mice pretreated with MDMA in the testing apparatus. These results reveal neuroadaptations in cortical 5-HT(2A) and striatal D₂ receptors after MDMA-induced behavioral sensitization in mice.