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Neurotoxicology. 2005 Dec;26(6):1031-40. Epub 2005 Jul 5.

Age-dependent (+)MDMA-mediated neurotoxicity in mice.

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  • 1Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Pharmacy, University of Texas at Austin, TX 78712, USA.


In the present study the effects of a neurotoxic regimen of (+)-MDMA (20 mg/kgx4, s.c.) in 4- and 10-week-old C57Bl/6J mice during treatment and 7 days post-treatment were examined. Rectal temperatures monitored between (+)-MDMA injections (30 min post-injection/2 h intervals) revealed hyperthermic responses in both age groups, with the magnitude of the response significantly greater in older mice. Seven days post-treatment, immunoblot analyses of the vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2), and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) revealed significant reductions (-37 and -58%, respectively) in the older animals, but not in the younger group, compared to age-matched controls. Dopamine transporter (DAT) expression was significantly reduced in both 4- and 10-week-old animals (26 and 69.7%, respectively). (+)-MDMA-treated animals also exhibited significantly lower levels of striatal dopamine, and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid than controls, again the effect being more pronounced in the older animals. Although both age groups showed evidence of (+)-MDMA-induced toxicity, our data revealed that older animals exhibited a greater hyperthermic response to (+)-MDMA and were also are more susceptible to subsequent dopaminergic damage than the younger animals.

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