Functional consequences of repeated (±)3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) treatment in rhesus monkeys

Michael A. Taffe, Michael R. Weed, Sophia Davis, Salvador Huitrón-Resendiz, Richard Schroeder, Loren H. Parsons, Steven J. Henriksen, Lisa H. Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Six rhesus monkeys were trained to stable performance on neuropsychological tests of memory, reinforcer efficacy, reaction time and bimanual motor coordination. Three monkeys were then exposed to a high-dose, short course regimen of (±)3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, "Ecstasy") (4 days, 10 mg/kg i.m., b.i.d.). Following treatment, concentrations of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were reduced by ∼50% in the treated animals, and this effect persisted for approximately three months post-MDMA. Behavioral performance was disrupted during acute MDMA treatment but returned to baseline within one week following treatment. MDMA also produced persistent alterations in late peak latencies of brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BSAEP), lasting three months post-MDMA. Both CSF 5-HIAA concentrations and evoked potential latencies were normalized four months after treatment. These findings indicate that serotonergic alterations associated with MDMA use may result in persisting changes in brain function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-239
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Cognition
  • Ecstasy
  • Evoked Potential
  • MDMA
  • Memory
  • Monkey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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