Synthesis and neurotoxicity profile of 2,4,5-trihydroxymethamphetamine and its 6-(N-acetylcystein-S-yl) conjugate

Chemical Research in Toxicology
Anne NeudörfferMartine Largeron


The purpose of the present study was to determine if trihydroxymethamphetamine (THMA), a metabolite of methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, "ecstasy"), or its thioether conjugate, 6-(N-acetylcystein-S-yl)-2,4,5-trihydroxymethamphetamine (6-NAC-THMA), play a role in the lasting effects of MDMA on brain serotonin (5-HT) neurons. To this end, novel high-yield syntheses of THMA and 6-NAC-THMA were developed. Lasting effects of both compounds on brain serotonin (5-HT) neuronal markers were then examined. A single intraventricular injection of THMA produced a significant lasting depletion of regional rat brain 5-HT and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), consistent with previous reports that THMA harbors 5-HT neurotoxic potential. The lasting effect of THMA on brain 5-HT markers was blocked by the 5-HT uptake inhibitor fluoxetine, indicating that persistent effects of THMA on 5-HT markers, like those of MDMA, are dependent on intact 5-HT transporter function. Efforts to identify THMA in the brains of animals treated with a high, neurotoxic dose (80 mg/kg) of MDMA were unsuccessful. Inability to identify THMA in the brains of these animals was not related to the unstable nature of the THMA molecule because exogenous THMA administered...Continue Reading


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