Amphetamines (AMPs) can cause long-term depletions in striatal dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT), and these decrements are often accepted as prima facie evidence of AMP-induced damage to the dopaminergic and serotonergic projections to striatum. Rarely are indices linked to neural damage used to evaluate the neurotoxicity of the AMPs. Here, we determined the potential neurotoxic effects of two substituted AMPs, d-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (d-MDMA) and d-fenfluramine (d-FEN) in group-housed female C57BL6/J mice. Astrogliosis, assessed by quantification of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), was the main indicator of d-MDMA-induced neural damage. Assays of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), DA, and 5-HT were used to determine effects on DA and 5-HT systems. Since AMPs are noted for both their stimulatory and hyperthermia-inducing properties, activity, as well as core temperature, was monitored in several experiments. To extend the generality of our findings, these same end points were examined in singly housed female C57bL6/J mice and in group-housed male C57BL6/J or female B6C3F1 mice after treatment with d-MDMA. Mice received either d-MDMA (20 mg/kg) (singly housed mice received dosages of 20, 30, or 40 mg/kg) or d-FEN (25 mg/kg) every 2 h for a total of four sc injections. d-MDMA caused hyperthermia, whereas d-FEN induced hypothermia. d-MDMA cause a large (300%) increase in striatal GFAP that resolved by 3 wk and a 50-75% decrease in TH and DA that was still apparent at 3 wk, d-FEN did not affect any parameters in striatum. d-MDMA is a striatal dopaminergic neurotoxicant in both male and female C57BL6/mice, as evidenced by astrogliosis and depletions of DA in this area in both sexes. The greater lethality to males suggests they may be more sensitive, at least to the general toxicity of d-MDMA, that females. d-MDMA (20 mg/kg) induced the same degree of damage whether mice were housed singly or in groups. Higher dosages in singly housed mice induced greater lethality, but not greater neurotoxicity. d-MDMA was also effective in inducing striatal damage in mice of the B6C3F1 strain. Significant increases in activity were induced by d-MDMA, and these increases were not blocked by pretreatment with MK-801, despite the profound lowering of body temperature induced by this combination. A lowering of body temperature, whether by a 15 degree C ambient temperature (approx 2 degree drop), pretreatment with MK-801 (1.0 mg/kg prior to the first and third d-MDMA injections; approx 5-6 degrees C drop) or restraint (approx 5-6 degrees C drop) was effective in blocking the neurotoxicity of d-MDMA in both C57BL6/J and B6C3F1. The stimulatory effects of d-MDMA appeared to have little impact on the neurotoxicity induced by d-MDMA or the protection conferred by MK-801. These data suggest that in the mouse, the neurotoxic effects of d-MDMA, and most likly other AMPs, are linked to an effect on body temperature.