Increased anxiety-related behavior in male and female adult rats following early and late adolescent exposure to 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2013 Feb;103(4):742-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2012.12.004. Epub 2012 Dec 19.


Subsequent behavioral effects in adulthood of daily exposure to MDMA during early or late adolescence were assessed in both male and female rats. From either postnatal day (PND) 35 (early adolescence) or PND45 (late adolescence), PVG/c rats of each sex were exposed via intraperitoneal injections to saline or 10mg/kg MDMA for 10 consecutive days. They were regularly weighed during treatment and again on PND90. At this age, their anxiety-related behavior was determined from frequencies of ambulation, rearing, grooming, defecation and occupancy of the center and corners of an open field, as well as entries into and time spent in the light compartment of a light-dark box. Spatial and working memories were assessed by preferences for a novel Y-maze arm, and by recognition of a novel object. MDMA-exposed rats gained less weight during treatment than saline controls but were heavier on PND90 depending on their sex or age when treated. As shown by decreased open-field ambulation (for males only) and increased defecation plus fewer entries into the light compartment of the light-dark box and entries into both arms of a Y maze, MDMA exposure increased adult anxiety-related behavior particularly for rats treated during late adolescence. There was no evidence of any effects on either spatial or working memory.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aging / drug effects
  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Anxiety / chemically induced*
  • Anxiety / physiopathology
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine / toxicity*
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats


  • N-Methyl-3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine