3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, “Ecstasy”) Induces Fenfluramine-Like Proliferative Actions on Human Cardiac Valvular Interstitial Cells in Vitro

Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Virginia Commonwealth University, Ричмонд, Virginia, United States
Molecular Pharmacology (Impact Factor: 4.12). 07/2003; 63(6):1223-9. DOI: 10.1124/mol.63.6.1223
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Recent findings have implicated the 5-hydroxytryptamine 2B (5-HT2B) serotonin receptor in mediating the heart valve fibroplasia [valvular heart disease (VHD)] and primary pulmonary hypertension observed in patients taking the now-banned appetite suppressant fenfluramine (Pondimin, Redux). Via large-scale, random screening of a portion of the receptorome, we have discovered that the amphetamine derivative 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, "Ecstasy") and its N-demethylated metabolite 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) each preferentially bind to and activate human recombinant 5-HT2B receptors. We also demonstrate that MDMA and MDA, like fenfluramine and its N-deethylated metabolite norfenfluramine, elicit prolonged mitogenic responses in human valvular interstitial cells via activation of 5-HT2B receptors. We also report that pergolide and dihydroergotamine, two drugs recently demonstrated to induce VHD in humans, potently activate 5-HT2B receptors, thus validating this assay system for its ability to predict medications that might induce VHD. Our discovery that MDMA and a major metabolite, MDA, induce prolonged mitogenic responses in vitro similar to those induced by fenfluramine and norfenfluramine in vivo (i.e., valvular interstitial cell fibroplasia) predict that long-term MDMA use could lead to the development of fenfluramine-like VHD. Because of the widespread abuse of MDMA, these findings have major public health implications. These findings also underscore the necessity of screening current and future drugs at h5-HT2B receptors for agonist actions before their use in humans.

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Available from: Richard B Rothman, Jul 25, 2014
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    • "Activation of 5-HT 2B receptors in some cell types has also been shown to stimulate nitric oxide synthase (Manivet et al., 2000). In fibroblasts and smooth muscle cells, the biological result of activating 5-HT 2B receptors is mitosis (Fitzgerald et al., 2000; Nebigil et al., 2000a, 2000b; Setola et al., 2003) and secretion of inflammatory cytokines and extracellular matrix (ECM) components (Hafizi et al., 2000; Jaffre et al., 2009). As such, 5-HT 2B receptors appear to play a crucial role in allowing these cells to maintain the structural homeostasis of the tissues comprising them (e.g., myocardium, heart valves, and blood vessels). "
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    ABSTRACT: Carcinoid heart disease was one of the first valvular pathologies studied in molecular detail, and early research identified serotonin produced by oncogenic enterochromaffin cells as the likely culprit in causing changes in heart valve tissue. Researchers and physicians in the mid-1960s noted a connection between the use of several ergot-derived medications with structures similar to serotonin and the development of heart valve pathologies similar to those observed in carcinoid patients. The exact serotonergic target that mediated valvular pathogenesis remained a mystery for many years until similar cases were reported in patients using the popular diet drug Fen-Phen in the late 1990s. The Fen-Phen episode sparked renewed interest in serotonin-mediated valve disease, and studies led to the identification of the 5-HT(2B) receptor as the likely molecular target leading to heart valve tissue fibrosis. Subsequent studies have identified numerous other activators of the 5-HT(2B) receptor, and consequently, the use of many of these molecules has been linked to heart valve disease. Herein, we: review the molecular properties of the 5-HT(2B) receptor including factors that differentiate the 5-HT(2B) receptor from other 5-HT receptor subtypes, discuss the studies that led to the identification of the 5-HT(2B) receptor as the mediator of heart valve disease, present current efforts to identify potential valvulopathogens by screening for 5-HT(2B) receptor activity, and speculate on potential therapeutic benefits of 5-HT(2B) receptor targeting.
    Pharmacology [?] Therapeutics 03/2011; 132(2):146-57. DOI:10.1016/j.pharmthera.2011.03.008 · 7.75 Impact Factor
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    • "One alternative explanation for the different effects of the stereoisomers on dopamine levels in the microdialysis studies could be a difference in potency rather than qualitative differences between the two compounds. Potency differences on this measure are a reasonable expectation because whereas S(ϩ)-MDMA is 30 times more potent than R(Ϫ)MDMA at releasing dopamine in vitro, R(Ϫ)- MDMA does release dopamine under these conditions when the dose is escalated (Setola et al., 2003). Therefore, the effects of R(Ϫ)-MDMA were tested at 3.0 mg/kg. "
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    ABSTRACT: 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is an amphetamine derivative that elicits complex biological effects in humans. One plausible mechanism for this phenomenon is that racemic MDMA is composed of two stereoisomers that exhibit qualitatively different pharmacological effects. In support of this, studies have shown that R(-)-MDMA tends to have hallucinogen-like effects, whereas S(+)-MDMA tends to have psychomotor stimulant-like effects. However, relatively little is known about whether these stereoisomers engender different endocrine and neurochemical effects. In the present study, the endocrine and neurochemical effects of each stereoisomer and the racemate were assessed in four rhesus monkeys after intravenous delivery at doses (1-3 mg/kg) that approximated voluntary self-administration by rhesus monkeys and human recreational users. Specifically, fluorescence-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to assess plasma prolactin concentrations, and in vivo microdialysis was used to assess extracellular dopamine and serotonin concentrations in the dorsal striatum. R(-)-MDMA, but not S(+)-MDMA, significantly increased plasma prolactin levels and the effects of S,R(+/-)-MDMA were intermediate to each of its component stereoisomers. Although S(+)-MDMA did not alter prolactin levels, it did significantly increase extracellular serotonin concentrations. In addition, S(+)-MDMA, but not R(-)-MDMA, significantly increased dopamine concentrations. Furthermore, as in the prolactin experiment, the effects of the racemate were intermediate to each of the stereoisomers. These studies demonstrate the stereoisomers of MDMA engender qualitatively different endocrine and neurochemical effects, strengthening the inference that differences in these stereoisomers might be the mechanism producing the complex biological effects of the racemic mixture of MDMA in humans.
    Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 05/2010; 334(2):642-50. DOI:10.1124/jpet.110.166595 · 3.86 Impact Factor
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    • "It is also clear from the present studies that, when the structural and pharmacological similarity of the test compounds to MDMA was reduced, the previously observed qualitative differences between the interoceptive effects of the MDMA enantiomers were replaced by simple potency differences . Cocaine has no notable structural features in common with MDMA, and although both compounds alter synaptic monoamine levels, MDMA does so through transporter-mediated release (Setola et al., 2003) while cocaine passively blocks monoamine reuptake (Kuhar et al., 1999). "
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    ABSTRACT: 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is a substituted phenethylamine more commonly known as the drug of abuse "ecstasy." The acute and persistent neurochemical effects of MDMA in the mice are distinct from those in other species. MDMA shares biological effects with both amphetamine-type stimulants and mescaline-type hallucinogens, which may be attributable to distinct effects of its two enantiomers, both of which are active in vivo. In this regard, among the substituted phenethylamines, R(-)-enantiomers tend to have hallucinogen-like effects, whereas S(+)-enantiomers tend to have stimulant-like effects. In the present study, mice were trained to discriminate S(+)- or R(-)-MDMA from vehicle. Drug substitution tests were then undertaken with the structurally similar phenethylamine dopamine/norepinephrine releaser S(+)-amphetamine, the structurally dissimilar tropane nonselective monoamine reuptake inhibitor cocaine, the structurally similar phenethylamine 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)(2A) agonist 2,5-dimethoxy-4-(n)-propylthiophenethylamine (2C-T-7), and the structurally dissimilar mixed action tryptamine 5-HT(2A) agonist/monoamine reuptake inhibitor N,N-dipropyltryptamine (DPT). S(+)-amphetamine fully substituted in the S(+)-MDMA-treated animals but did not substitute for the R(-)-MDMA cue. 2C-T-7 fully substituted in the R(-)-MDMA-trained animals but did not substitute for the S(+)-MDMA cue. Cocaine and DPT substituted for both training drugs, but whereas cocaine was more potent in S(+)-MDMA-trained mice, DPT was more potent in R(-)-MDMA-trained mice. These data suggest that qualitative differences in the discriminative stimulus effects of each stereoisomer of MDMA exist in mice and further our understanding of the complex nature of the interoceptive effects of MDMA.
    Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 09/2009; 331(2):717-23. DOI:10.1124/jpet.109.156174 · 3.86 Impact Factor
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