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Neuronal Regrowth after MDMA Neurotoxicity

Xiphihumeralis xiphi at yourmom.com
Fri Apr 19 02:12:32 EST 2002

Greetings --

I am currently preparing a presentation on the possible neurotoxicity of
MDMA (club drug ecstasy).  I am familiar with how brings about the drug's
effect through it's interaction with the serotonergic pathways and the
serotonin transporter protein SERT.  One main study that I am referencing is
by Dr. George Ricaurte, perhaps some of you are familiar with it...Squirrel
monkeys are given MDMA b.i.d for 4 days.  Thin slices of the cerebral cortex
as well as other portions of the brain are physically studied from control
subjects, from MDMA subjects 2 weeks post-experiment, and other MDMA
subjects 7 years post MDMA experiment.  Not surprisingly, there was a marked
decrease in the density of serotonin neurons in the subjects 2 weeks
post-experiment.  However, the 7-year group STILL had significant neuronal
damage, however it was LESS severe than the 2-week mark.  (Image is here
http://www.nida.nih.gov/teaching4/largegifs/slide18.gif) If the theory in
question is "neurotoxicity", how do these neurons apparently repair
themselves?  Is there a new theory out there that certain neurons CAN be
repaired?  I have always been taught that neurons are inherently in the Go
phase, and do not undergo mitosis, thus do not repair from damage.  The
current school of thought of this neurotoxicity is formation of free
radicals...could that possibly cause genetic mutations?  I still don't see
how these neurons can repair and/or regrow, albeit in many cases, the growth
was abnormal.

I would appreciate any insight you could give me on this issue.

Thanks again!

Warren C. Samms, NREMT-B

musicdoctor at kscable.com
sammsw at friends.edu


-"Thin the herd!"

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