Striatal serotonin is depleted in brain of a human MDMA (Ecstasy) user

Neurology. 2000 Jul 25;55(2):294-6. doi: 10.1212/wnl.55.2.294.


The authors found that striatal levels of serotonin and those of its metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid were severely depleted by 50 to 80% in brain of a chronic user of methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) whereas concentrations of dopamine were within the normal control range. Our data suggest that MDMA exposure in the human can cause decreased tissue stores of serotonin and therefore some of the behavioral effects of this drug of abuse could be caused by massive release and depletion of brain serotonin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Corpus Striatum / pathology*
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid / metabolism
  • Male
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine*
  • Occipital Lobe / pathology
  • Reference Values
  • Serotonin / metabolism*
  • Serotonin Agents*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / pathology*


  • Serotonin Agents
  • Serotonin
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine
  • Dopamine