3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy) impairs eight-arm radial maze performance and arm entry pattern in rats

Behav Neurosci. 2002 Apr;116(2):298-304. doi: 10.1037//0735-7044.116.2.298.


The recreational use of 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy) in humans has been associated with memory impairment. The present study examined whether ecstasy impairs short- and long-term working memory and the pattern of arm entries in rats tested in the 8-arm radial maze with a 2-hr delay. After completing the training session, the rats were given a single dose of ecstasy (1, 2, or 3 mg/kg ip) 20 min before the test. The highest dose slightly affected short-term working memory. Under conditions of delay, there was a progressive deficit in long-term working memory, starting from 1 mg/kg. Under both test conditions, 2 and 3 mg/kg flattened the pattern of arm entry. None of the doses caused hyperlocomotion or stereotypy in the radial maze. These findings suggest that acute ecstasy mainly affects the long-term components of working memory and disrupts the pattern of arm entry in a way similar to serotonergic agents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Discrimination Learning / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Hallucinogens / administration & dosage
  • Hallucinogens / adverse effects
  • Hallucinogens / pharmacology*
  • Locomotion / drug effects
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Memory Disorders / chemically induced
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Stereotypic Movement Disorder / chemically induced


  • Hallucinogens