Send to

Choose Destination
Life Sci. 2000 Aug 18;67(13):1601-12.

Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; Ecstasy) suppresses IL-1beta and TNF-alpha secretion following an in vivo lipopolysaccharide challenge.

Author information

Department of Pharmacology, National University of Ireland, Galway.


In this study we examined the effects of methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) administration on responsiveness to an in vivo immune challenge with lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 100 microg/kg; i.p.). LPS produced an increase in circulating IL-1beta and TNF-alpha in control animals. MDMA (20 mg/kg; i.p.) significantly impaired LPS-induced IL-1beta and TNF-alpha secretion. The suppressive effect of MDMA on IL-1beta secretion was transient and returned to control levels within 3 hours of administration. In contrast, the MDMA-induced suppression of TNF-alpha secretion was evident for up to 12 hours following administration. In a second study we examined the effect of co-administration of MDMA (5, 10 and 20 mg/kg; i.p.) on LPS-induced IL-1beta and TNF-alpha secretion, and demonstrated that all three doses potently suppressed LPS-induced TNF-alpha secretion, but only MDMA 10 and 20 mg/kg suppressed LPS-induced IL-1beta secretion. In addition, serum MDMA concentrations displayed a dose-dependent increase, with the concentrations achieved following administration of 5 and 10 mg/kg being in the range reported in human MDMA abusers. In order to examine the possibility that the suppressive effect of MDMA on IL-1beta and TNF-alpha could be due to a direct effect of the drug on immune cells, the effect of in vitro exposure to MDMA on IL-1beta and TNF-alpha production in LPS-stimulated diluted whole blood was evaluated. However IL-1beta or TNF-alpha production were not altered by in vitro exposure to MDMA. In conclusion, these data demonstrate that acute MDMA administration impairs IL-1beta and TNF-alpha secretion following an in vivo LPS challenge, and that TNF-alpha is more sensitive to the suppressive effects of MDMA than is IL-1beta. However the suppressive effect of MDMA on IL-1beta and TNF-alpha could not be attributed to a direct effect on immune cells. The relevance of these findings to MDMA-induced immunomodulation is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center