MDMA & it’s metabolites… good or bad? The quest begins

I’m going to be add links to this blog post as I talk to my friends in the field of neuroscience. The topic: MDMA. Unfortunately my trusted friends in the field are saying that nonhuman primate studies point strongly in the direction of neurotoxicity for MDMA and it’s metabolites. Correlating that with behavorial and imaging studies and the link becomes even clearer. Only time will tell though…… If you must indulge please read up on how certain substances (SSRI’s, antioxidants, etc.) could potentially reduce MDMA neurotoxicity

The following journals were hand picked for me by a neuroscientist buddy I will call Dr. Sam:

George Ricaurte, Ph.D.’s September 5, 2003 retraction of “Severe dopaminergic neurotoxicity in primates after a common recreational dose regimen of methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)”: Source: Science, Vol 301, Issue 5639, 1479 Date: 12 September 2003 on above
Medical community reaction

Typically people jump all over the dose and route of administration. This article controls for that.

Mechen, et al. (2006) Pharmacokinetic Profile of Single and Repeated Oral Doses of MDMA in Squirrel Monkeys: Relationship to Lasting Effects on Brain Serotonin Neurons. Neuropsychopharmacology 31, 339–350.

Reviews on mechanisms of toxicity:

Quinton and Yamamoto. (2006) Causes and consequences of methamphetamine and MDMA toxicity. AAPS J. 12;8(2):E337-47.

Seiden and Sabol (1996) Methamphetamine and methylenedioxymethamphetamine neurotoxicity: possible mechanisms of cell destruction.NIDA research monograph
Volume 163, 1996, Pages 251-276

E. Gouzoulis-Mayfrank & J. Daumann. (2006) Neurotoxicity of methylenedioxyamphetamines (MDMA; ecstasy) in humans: how strong is the evidence for persistent brain damage? Addiction. 101(3):348-61.

Long-term in primates:

Fischer C, Hatzidimitriou G, Wlos J, Katz J, Ricaurte G. Reorganization of ascending 5-HT axon projections in animals previously exposed to the recreational drug (+/−)3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ‘ecstasy’). J Neurosci 1995;15: 5476–85.

Hatzidimitriou G, McCann UD, Ricaurte GA. Altered serotonin innervation patterns in the forebrain of monkeys treated with (+/−)3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine seven years previously: factors influencing abnormal recovery. J Neurosci 1999;19: 5096–107.


Cowan, et al. (2003) Reduced cortical gray matter density in human MDMA (Ecstasy) users: a voxel-based morphometry study. Drug Alcohol Depend. 72(3):225-35.

Jacobsen, et al. (2004) Preliminary evidence of hippocampal dysfunction in adolescent MDMA (“ecstasy”) users: possible relationship to neurotoxic effects.Psychopharmacology (Berl). 173(3-4):383-90.

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