Brain Serotonin Synthesis in MDMA
• Has been used to treat self-esteem and facilitate communication and social phobia
• Used clinically as a treatment
• Difficult to study because street use can involve vary different dosages (not as controlled as SR
amount of alcohol units consumed)
• E.g., if you consumed 2 tablets this year, that does not inform the clinician of the dosage
• Why are their negative events associated with use? Because of the drug or the quality?
• Tradeoff between clean sample (causality) or generalizability
Reduced 5-HT transporter binding in MDMAusers.
• Reduces SERT
• Reduces 5-HT axons
• Hyperinnervation of subcortical brain areas (sprouting)
Are these effects permanent?
• Animal models suggest no. Serotonin system can recover.
• Other study finds partial recovery by 7 days
• Not optimal recovery
Changes in 5-HT synthesis (Booij et al., under review)
• Use of MDMAon 25 occasions (experimental group, polydrug allowed) or never (control)
• Cannot use medications regularly
• Free of current drugs (even in MDMAsubset)
• No mental disorders or family history of depression
MDMAusers had higher serotonin concentrations in the raphe nuclei (brainstem), decrease in serotonin
concentrations in PFC areas.
• More time drug-free associated with higher concentrations in the brainstem
• Decrease in serotonin