3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), but not morphine, alters APP processing in the rat brain

János Kálmán, Annamária Bjelik, Marietta Hugyecz, Júlia Tímár, Zsuzsanna Gyarmati, Marianna Zana, Zsuzsanna Fürst, Zoltán Janka, Zoltán Rakonczay, Zoltán Horváth, Magdolna Pákáski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


The abuse of drugs such as opioids and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or 'ecstasy') can have detrimental effects on the cognitive functions, but the exact molecular mechanism whereby these drugs promote neurodegeneration remains to be elucidated. The major purpose of the present pilot study was to determine whether the chronic in-vivo administration of morphine (10 mg/kg) or MDMA (1 mg/kg) to rats can alter the expression and processing of amyloid precursor protein (APP), the central molecule in the proposed pathomechanism of Alzheimer's disease. MDMA treatment significantly decreased the production of APP in the cytosolic fraction of the brain cortex. A concomitant 25% increase was found both in the β-secretase (BACE) and APP mRNA levels (108%). In contrast, in the applied single dosage chronic morphine treatment did not influence either the APP and BACE protein levels or the APP mRNA production. These results indicate that the chronic use of 'ecstasy', but not morphine, may be harmful via a novel mode of action, i.e. by altering the APP expression and processing in the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-190
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2007


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Amyloid
  • Amyloid precursor protein
  • Immunoblotting
  • MDMA
  • Morphine
  • mRNA
  • β-secretase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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