Effects of repeated low doses of MDMA on EEG activity and Fluoro-Jade B histochemistry

F. Fornai, M. Gesi, P. Lenzi, M. Ferrucci, G. Lazzeri, C. Pizzanelli, A. Pellegrini, G. Battaglia, S. Ruggieri, A. Paparelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The psychostimulant 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, "ecstasy") is an amphetamine derivative that is widely abused. In previous studies, depending on the animal species, neurotoxicity has been demonstrated for either serotonin (5-HT) or/and dopamine (DA) nerve endings. These studies focused on the basal ganglia circuitry; however, in humans chronic abuse of MDMA often results in neurological symptoms that last after MDMA withdrawal and are not related to the extrapyramidal system such as electroencephalographic (EEG) abnormalities and cognitive impairment. These alterations might be due to the concomitant intake of other illicit compounds, the consequence of MDMA-induced hyperthermia, or to a primary neurotoxicity directed to extrastriatal regions. These observations call for a more in-depth analysis on the potential involvement of brain areas outside the basal ganglia in the toxic effects induced primarily by MDMA. In the present study, we treated C57Black mice chronically (25 days) with daily injections of MDMA (2.5 mg/kg). During treatments, mice were monitored in order to detect behavioral modifications, and epidural electrodes were installed to perform EEG recording. Behavioral data showed a sensitization as measured by locomotor activity, which related to progressive and long-lasting EEG changes and neuronal degeneration within the hippocampus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-188
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)
  • Ecstasy
  • EEG
  • Hippocampus
  • Limbic system
  • Neurotoxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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