Hallucinogenic amphetamine selectively destroys brain serotonin nerve terminals

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Science  06 Sep 1985:
Vol. 229, Issue 4717, pp. 986-988
DOI: 10.1126/science.4023719


(+/-)-3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), an amphetamine analog with hallucinogenic activity, produced selective long-lasting reductions in the level of serotonin, the number of serotonin uptake sites, and the concentration of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid in rat brain. Morphological studies suggested that these neurochemical deficits were due to serotonin nerve terminal degeneration. These results show that MDA has toxic activity for serotonin neurons in rats and raise the question of whether exposure to MDA and related hallucinogenic amphetamines can produce serotonin neurotoxicity in the human brain.

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