Direct effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) on serotonin or dopamine release and uptake in the caudate putamen, nucleus accumbens, substantia nigra pars reticulata, and the dorsal raphé nucleus slices

Synapse. 2000 Jun 15;36(4):275-85. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2396(20000615)36:4<275::AID-SYN4>3.0.CO;2-#.


We examined the effects of pressure ejected 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) from a micropipette on direct chemically stimulated release, and on electrically stimulated serotonin (5-HT) or dopamine (DA) release in the caudate putamen (CPu), nucleus accumbens (NAc), substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr), and the dorsal raphé nucleus (DRN) brain slices of rat, using fast cyclic voltammetry (FCV). MDMA is electroactive, oxidising at +1100 mV. When the anodic input waveform was reduced from +1.4 to +1.0 volt, MDMA was not electroactive. Using this waveform, pressure ejection of MDMA did not release 5-HT or DA in brain slices prepared from any of the nuclei studied. MDMA significantly potentiated electrically stimulated 5-HT release in the SNr and DA release in CPu. In the DRN or in the NAc, MDMA was without effect on peak electrically stimulated 5-HT or DA release. The rates of neurotransmitter uptake, expressed as t(1/2), were in all cases significantly decreased after MDMA. The results indicate that MDMA, unlike (+)amphetamine, is not as a releaser of DA or 5-HT, it is a potent inhibitor of both DA and 5-HT uptake.

MeSH terms

  • Amphetamine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Caudate Nucleus / metabolism
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrochemistry
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Injections, Jet
  • Male
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine / pharmacology*
  • Nucleus Accumbens / metabolism
  • Raphe Nuclei / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Serotonin / metabolism*
  • Substantia Nigra / metabolism


  • Serotonin
  • Amphetamine
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine
  • Dopamine