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Neuropharmacology. 2014 Dec;87:125-34. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2014.02.015. Epub 2014 Mar 2.

Current preclinical studies on neuroinflammation and changes in blood-brain barrier integrity by MDMA and methamphetamine.

Author information

1
Departamento de Farmacología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Complutense, Madrid 28040, Spain. Electronic address: estheros@med.ucm.es.
2
Departamento de Farmacología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Complutense, Madrid 28040, Spain.
3
School of Life Sciences, Queen's Medical Centre, University of Nottingham, UK.
4
Departamento de Farmacología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Complutense, Madrid 28040, Spain. Electronic address: colado@med.ucm.es.

Abstract

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is essential in the maintenance of brain homeostasis both by preserving normal brain functioning and also by protecting the brain from exposure to a range of potentially harmful substances. This review presents some of the evidence of BBB disruption following exposure to the substituted amphetamines 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, 'ecstasy') and methamphetamine (METH), two drugs of abuse which are widely consumed recreationally by younger sectors of the population. Both MDMA and METH have been shown to produce disruption of the BBB as reflected by IgG extravasation and Evans Blue leakage. In particular, METH decreases the expression of basal lamina proteins associated with an increase in matrix metalloproteinase activity. These changes in BBB integrity appear to be related to MDMA-induced activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) JNK1/2. The consequences of the disruption in the BBB by these two drugs remain to be established, but there is evidence in the literature that, at least in the case of METH, increased matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) activity may be related to increased behavioural sensitization and reward perhaps because of the modification of the passage of the drug into the CNS. In addition, the high incidence of AIDS-related neurologic disease in METH users may also be related to increased entry into the brain of virally derived neurotoxic products. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled 'CNS Stimulants'.

KEYWORDS:

3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine; Basal lamina proteins; Blood–brain barrier disruption; IgG extravasation; Methamphetamine; Neuroinflammation

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