Activation of 5-HT3 receptors leads to altered responses 6 months after MDMA treatment

Norbert Gyongyosi, Brigitta Balogh, Zita Katai, Eszter Molnar, Rudolf Laufer, Kornelia Tekes, Gyorgy Bagdy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


The recreational drug "Ecstasy" [3,4- methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)] has a well-characterised neurotoxic effect on the 5-hydroxytryptarnine (5-HT) neurons in animals. Despite intensive studies, the long-term functional consequencies of the 5-HT neurodegeneration remains elusive. The aim of this study was to investigate whether any alteration of 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 (5-HT3) receptor functions on the sleep-wake cycle, motor activity, and quantitative EEG could be detected 6 months after a single dose of 15 mg/ kg of MDMA. The selective 5-HT3 receptor agonist m-chlorophenylbiguanide (mCPBG; 1 mg/kg, i.p.) or vehicle was administered to freely moving rats pre-treated with MDMA (15 mg/kg, i.p.) or vehicle 6 months earlier. Polysomnographie and motor activity recordings were performed. Active wake (AW), passive wake (PW), light slow wave sleep (SWS-I), deep slow wave sleep (SWS-2), and paradoxical sleep were classified. In addition, EEG power spectra were calculated for the second hour after mCPBG treatment for each stage. AW increased and SWS-I decreased in the second hour after mCPBG treatment in control animals. mCPBG caused significant changes in the EEG power in states with cortical activation (AW, PW, paradoxical sleep). In addition, mCPBG had a Diphasic effect on hippocampal theta power in AW with a decrease in 7 Hz and a stage-selective increase in the upper range (8-9 Hz). Effects of mCPBG on the time spent in AW and SWS-I were eliminated or reduced in MDMA-treated animals. In addition, mCPBG did not increase the upper theta power of AW in rats pre-treated with MDMA. These data suggest long-term changes in 5-HT3 receptor function after MDMA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-292
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of neural transmission
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2010


  • 5-HT receptor
  • EEG
  • Ecstasy
  • Hippocampal theta
  • MDMA
  • Motor activity
  • Quantitative EEG
  • Serotonin
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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