Differences in the in vivo dynamics of neurotransmitter release and serotonin uptake after acute para-methoxyamphetamine and 3,4- methylenedioxymethamphetamine revealed by chronoamperometry

Paul D. Callaghan, Rodney J. Irvine, Lynette C. Daws

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30 Scopus citations


Illicit use of p-methoxyamphetamine (PMA) is rapidly increasing. However, little is known about the acute effects of PMA on neurotransmission in vivo. High-speed chronoamperometry was used to monitor neurotransmitter release and clearance in anesthetized rats after local application of PMA or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). In striatum, PMA caused less neurotransmitter release than MDMA. PMA-evoked release could be partially blocked by pre-treatment with a serotonin (5-HT) reuptake inhibitor, suggesting that evoked 5-HT release contributed to the electrochemical signal and was mediated by the 5-HT transporter (SERT). MDMA-evoked release was not blocked by a SERT inhibitor, suggesting that primarily DA was released. To study the effect of these amphetamines on clearance of 5-HT mediated specifically by the SERT, clearance of exogenously applied 5-HT was measured in the CA3 region of the hippocampus. In contrast to the striatum where 5-HT is cleared by both the SERT and the dopamine transporter (DAT), 5-HT is cleared primarily by the SERT in the CA3 region. This is also a region where neither PMA nor MDMA evoked release of neurotransmitter. The maximal inhibition of 5-HT clearance was greater after PMA than MDMA. These data demonstrate in vivo (1) brain region variability in the ability of PMA and MDMA to evoke release of neurotransmitter; (2) that clearance of 5-HT in the striatum is mediated by both the SERT and the DAT; (3) distinct differences in the amount and nature of neurotransmitter released in the striatum after local application of PMA and MDMA and (4) that PMA is a more efficacious inhibitor of 5-HT clearance in the hippocampus than MDMA. These fundamental differences may account for the more severe adverse reactions seen clinically after PMA, compared to MDMA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-361
Number of pages12
JournalNeurochemistry International
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2005



  • 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine
  • Chronoamperometry
  • Dopamine transporter
  • Para-methoxyamphetamine
  • Release
  • Serotonin transporter
  • Uptake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology

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