Further studies on the role of metabolites in (+/-)-3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine-induced serotonergic neurotoxicity

Drug Metabolism and Disposition : the Biological Fate of Chemicals
Melanie MuellerG A Ricaurte

Abstract

The mechanism by which the recreational drug (+/-)-3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) destroys brain serotonin (5-HT) axon terminals is not understood. Recent studies have implicated MDMA metabolites, but their precise role remains unclear. To further evaluate the relative importance of metabolites versus the parent compound in neurotoxicity, we explored the relationship between pharmacokinetic parameters of MDMA, 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), 3,4-dihydroxymethamphetamine (HHMA), and 4-hydroxy-3-methoxymethamphetamine (HMMA) and indexes of serotonergic neurotoxicity in the same animals. We also further evaluated the neurotoxic potential of 5-(N-acetylcystein-S-yl)-HHMA (5-NAC-HHMA), an MDMA metabolite recently implicated in 5-HT neurotoxicity. Lasting serotonergic deficits correlated strongly with pharmacokinetic parameters of MDMA (C(max) and area under the concentration-time curve), more weakly with those of MDA, and not at all with those of HHMA or HMMA (total amounts of the free analytes obtained after conjugate cleavage). HHMA and HMMA could not be detected in the brains of animals with high brain MDMA concentrations and high plasma HHMA and HMMA concentrations, suggesting that HHMA and HMMA do not readily pen...Continue Reading

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