The Role of Metabolism in Ecstasy-Mediated Serotonergic Neurotoxicity
AdvisorMonks, Terrence J
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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Abstract3,4-(±)-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is a synthetic amphetamine derivative commonly used as a recreational drug. Although the selectivity of MDMA for the serotonergic system in rat and humans is well established, the specific mechanism associated with MDMA-induced neurotoxicity is not fully understood. The long-term neurotoxicity of MDMA appears to be dependent upon systemic metabolism since direct administration of MDMA into the brain fails to reproduce the neurotoxic effects seen following peripheral administration, indicating that the parent compound alone is unlikely to be responsible for the neurotoxicity. MDMA is O-demethylenated to the catechol metabolite N-methyl-α-methyldopamine (N-Me-α-MeDA) and N-demethylated to MDA by cytochrome (s) P450 (CYP450). Thioether (glutathione and N-acetylcysteine) metabolites of N-Me-α-MeDA and α-MeDA are neurotoxic and can be found in rat brain following s.c. injection of MDMA. Because multidose administration of MDMA is typical of drug intake during rave parties, we investigated the effects of multiple doses of MDMA on the concentration of neurotoxic thioether metabolites in rat brain. Administration of MDMA at 12-h intervals for a total of four injections led to a significant accumulation of the N-Me-α-MeDA thioether metabolites in striatal dialysate. In contrast, acute release of 5-HT concentrations was decreased. Since isoenzymes of the CYP2D subfamily (30% metabolism), and the CYP2B or CYP3A1 isoforms, catalyze the low and high KM O-demethylenation reactions, respectively, we subsequently examined the potential role of CYP2D1 in both a genetic and pharmacological model. The data is consistent with the hypothesis that systemic metabolism of MDMA contributes to MDMA-induced serotonergic neurotoxicity via the 20) generation of reactive metabolites. In both the genetic and pharmacological models of CYP2D1 deficiency, attenuation of MDMA-mediated decreases in brain 5-HT concentrations were in the same range (30-40%). Finally, we examined the contribution of various transporters using genetic and pharmacological models to investigate the mechanisms regulating the concentration of thioether metabolites in MDMA neurotoxicity. The data suggest that by regulating various transporters and brain concentrations of the neurotoxic thioether metabolites of MDMA, may subsequently modulate the degree of neurotoxicity. However, further studies are necessary to understand the precise mechanism by which Mrp’s and Oat1 transporters modulate MDMA-neurotoxicity. Taken together, these studies are consistent with the view that neurotoxicity of MDMA requires systemic metabolism to form α-MeDA and N-Me-α- MeDA by CYP2D6. Therefore, It is likely that neurotoxicity is mediated by the formation of systemic neurotoxic metabolites.
Degree ProgramPharmacology & Toxicology