Erowid References Database
Obradovic T, Imel KM, White SR.
“Methylenedioxymethamphetamine-induced inhibition of neuronal firing in the nucleus accumbens is mediated by both serotonin and dopamine”.
Neuroscience. 1996 Sep;74(2):469-81.
Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is a mood-altering, legally restricted drug that has been reported to inhibit glutamate-evoked firing of cells in the nucleus accumbens. This study used extracellular recording combined with microiontophoresis to examine whether the inhibitory effect of MDMA on neuronal firing in the nucleus accumbens is mediated by serotonin and/or dopamine. Serotonin and serotonin agonists with relative selectivity for the receptor subtypes 5-HT1A, 5-HT1B, 5-HT2A/2C and 5-HT3 all significantly (P < 0.01) inhibited glutamate-evoked firing of cells in the nucleus accumbens compared to the effects of an acidic saline control solution (30-60 nA, 60 s ejection currents for all). The current (dose)-dependent inhibition produced by the serotonin agonists did not differ significantly from the inhibition produced by MDMA except for the 5-HT1A agonist 8-hydroxy-(2-di-n-propylamino) tetralin, which inhibited glutamate-evoked firing significantly more than MDMA or any of the other serotonin agonists. At the highest ejection current tested (60 nA, 60 s), glutamate-evoked firing was inhibited by MDMA in 94% of tested cells, by serotonin in 80% of tested cells and by the serotonin receptor subtype agonists in 95-100% of the tested cells. In addition to being mimicked by serotonin and serotonin agonists, MDMA-induced inhibition of glutamate-evoked firing in the nucleus accumbens was partially blocked by the serotonin antagonists ketanserin (100% of tested cells), methysergide (80% of tested cells), methiothepin (100% of tested cells) and WAY100135 (100% of tested cells). Furthermore, application of the serotonin uptake blocker fluoxetine, which prevents MDMA-induced serotonin release, also significantly attenuated MDMA-induced inhibition of glutamate-evoked firing in all of the cells that were tested. These observations suggest that MDMA-induced inhibition of nucleus accumbens cell firing is at least partially mediated by serotonin. Depletion of dopamine by pretreatment with the neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine and the synthesis inhibitor alpha-methyl-p-tyrosine blocked the inhibition of glutamate-evoked firing produced by MDMA applied with low ejection currents (30-40 nA, 60 s). However, this dopamine depletion had no effect on inhibition of glutamate-evoked firing produced by serotonin ejected with low or high currents (20-60 nA, 60 s). These results suggest that both dopamine release and an intermediate step of MDMA-induced serotonin release are necessary for the inhibitory effects of MDMA on neuronal excitability in the nucleus accumbens. The dopamine- and serotonin-mediated inhibitory effects of MDMA on glutamate-evoked firing of nucleus accumbens cells may play a role in the mood-altering properties of this increasingly popular drug.
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