[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neural progenitor cell expansion is critical for normal brain development and an appropriate response to injury. During the brain growth spurt, exposures to general anesthetics, which either block the N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor or enhance the γ-aminobutyric acid receptor type A can disturb neuronal transduction. This effect can be detrimental to brain development. Until now, the effects of anesthetic exposure on neural progenitor cell expansion in vivo had seldom been reported. Here, minimally invasive micro positron emission tomography (microPET) coupled with 3'-deoxy-3' [(18)F] fluoro-l-thymidine ([(18)F]FLT) was utilized to assess the effects of sevoflurane exposure on neural progenitor cell proliferation. FLT, a thymidine analog, is taken up by proliferating cells and phosphorylated in the cytoplasm, leading to its intracellular trapping. Intracellular retention of [(18)F]FLT, thus, represents an observable in vivo marker of cell proliferation. Here, postnatal day 7 rats (n = 11/group) were exposed to 2.5% sevoflurane or room air for 9 h. For up to 2 weeks following the exposure, standard uptake values (SUVs) for [(18)F]-FLT in the hippocampal formation were significantly attenuated in the sevoflurane-exposed rats (p < 0.0001), suggesting decreased uptake and retention of [(18)F]FLT (decreased proliferation) in these regions. Four weeks following exposure, SUVs for [(18)F]FLT were comparable in the sevoflurane-exposed rats and in controls. Co-administration of 7-nitroindazole (30 mg/kg, n = 5), a selective inhibitor of neuronal nitric oxide synthase, significantly attenuated the SUVs for [(18)F]FLT in both the air-exposed (p = 0.00006) and sevoflurane-exposed rats (p = 0.0427) in the first week following the exposure. These findings suggested that microPET in couple with [(18)F]FLT as cell proliferation marker could be used as a non-invasive modality to monitor the sevoflurane-induced inhibition of neural progenitor cell proliferation in vivo.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Typically, time-consuming standard toxicological assays using the zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryo model evaluate mortality and teratogenicity after exposure during the first 2 days post-fertilization. Here we describe an automated image-based high content screening (HCS) assay to identify the teratogenic/embryotoxic potential of compounds in zebrafish embryos in vivo. Automated image acquisition was performed using a high content microscope system. Further automated analysis of embryo length, as a statistically quantifiable endpoint of toxicity, was performed on images post-acquisition. The biological effects of ethanol, nicotine, ketamine, caffeine, dimethyl sulfoxide and temperature on zebrafish embryos were assessed. This automated developmental toxicity assay, based on a growth-retardation endpoint should be suitable for evaluating the effects of potential teratogens and developmental toxicants in a high throughput manner. This approach can significantly expedite the screening of potential teratogens and developmental toxicants, thereby improving the current risk assessment process by decreasing analysis time and required resources. Published 2014. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.
Journal of Applied Toxicology 05/2014; 35(3). · 3.17 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background. The inhalation anesthetics nitrous oxide (N2O) and isoflurane (ISO) are used in surgical procedures for human infants. Injury to the central nervous system is often accompanied by localization of activated microglia or astrocytosis at the site of injury. The tracer that targets to the peripheral benzodiazepine receptor (PBR), [18F]N-2-(2-fluoroethoxy)benzyl)-N-(4-phenoxypyridin-3-yl)acetamide ([18F]-FEPPA), has been reported as a sensitive biomarker for the detection of neuronal damage/inflammation. Methods. On postnatal day (PND) 5 or 6 rhesus monkey neonates were exposed to a mixture of N2O/oxygen and ISO for 8 hours and control monkeys were exposed to room air. MicroPET/CT images with [18F]-FEPPA were obtained for each monkey 1 day, one week, three weeks, and 6 months after the anesthetic exposure. Results. The radiotracer quickly distributed into the brains of both treated and control monkeys on all scan days. One day after anesthetic exposure, the uptake of [18F]-FEPPA was significantly increased in the temporal lobe. One week after exposure, the uptake of [18F]-FEPPA in the frontal lobe of treated animals was significantly greater than that in controls. Conclusions. These findings suggest that microPET imaging is capable of dynamic detection of inhaled anesthetic-induced brain damage in different brain regions of the nonhuman primate.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of the current study was to determine whether copper nanoparticles (Cu-NPs) can induce the release of proinflammatory mediators that influence the restrictive characteristics of the blood-brain barrier.
Confluent rat brain microvessel endothelial cells (rBMECs) were treated with well-characterized Cu-NPs (40 or 60 nm). Cytotoxicity of the Cu-NPs was evaluated by cell proliferation assay (1.5-50 µg/ml). The extracellular concentrations of proinflammatory mediators (IL-1β, IL-2, TNF-α and prostaglandin E(2)) were evaluated by ELISA.
The exposure of Cu-NPs at low concentrations increases cellular proliferation of rBMECs, by contrast, high concentrations induce toxicity. Prostaglandin E(2) release was significantly increased (threefold; 8 h) for Cu-NPs (40 and 60 nm). The extracellular levels of both TNF-α and IL-1β were significantly elevated following exposure to Cu-NPs. The P-apparent ratio, as an indicator of increased permeability of rBMEC was approximately twofold for Cu-NPs (40 and 60 nm).
These data suggest that Cu-NPs can induce rBMEC, proliferation at low concentrations and/or induce blood-brain barrier toxicity and potential neurotoxicity at high concentrations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amyloid-beta peptide (Aβ) deposition is assumed to play a pathogenic role in the brain of Alzheimer's disease patients. To date, the precise mechanisms underlying Aβ toxicity are not fully understood. A recent hypothesis suggesting that the Receptor-for-Advanced-Glycation-End-Products (RAGE)-a trans-membrane protein signaling for oxidative stress-is involved in Aβ toxicity is gaining attention. Early Aβ toxicity could indeed help to explain the deleterious events further produced by this molecule in the brain. In this work, we evaluated the pattern of early expression of RAGE in the toxic model induced by Aß₂₅₋₃₅ in rat CA1 region. Intrahippocampal injections of Aβ₂₅₋₃₅ in rats increased the RAGE expression at 24 h post-injection; this event was accompanied by increased components of RAGE downstream signaling in hippocampal cells, such as enhanced expression of the pro-apoptotic factor NF-κB, increased nitric oxide production, LDH leakage, mitochondrial dysfunction, increased TNF-α expression, antioxidant genes down-regulation, and augmented neurodegeneration. Our findings support an active role of RAGE during the early stages of Aβ₂₅₋₃₅ toxicity in the hippocampus.
Neurotoxicology and Teratology 03/2011; 33(2):288-96. · 3.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This report examined blood-brain barrier (BBB) related proinflammatory mediators and permeability changes in response to various sized gold nanoparticles (Au-NPs) (3, 5, 7, 10, 30 and 60 nm) in vitro using primary rat brain microvessel endothelial cells (rBMEC). The Au-NPs were characterized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), dynamic light scattering (DLS) and laser Doppler velocimetry (LDV). The accumulation of Au-NPs was determined spectrophotometrically. The rBMEC cytotoxicity of Au-NPs was evaluated by cell proliferation assay (XTT) (concentration range 0.24-15.63 μg/cm², for 24 h). The time-dependent changes (0, 2, 4 and 8 h) of several proinflammatory mediators (IL-1β, IL-2, TNFα and PGE₂) were evaluated by ELISA. The smaller Au-NPs (3-7 nm) showed higher rBMEC accumulation compared to larger Au-NPs (10-60 nm), while only moderate decreased cell viability was observed with small Au-NPs (3 nm) at high concentrations (≥ 7.8 μg/cm²). Even though slight changes in cell viability were observed with small Au-NPs, the basal levels of the various proinflammatory mediators remained unchanged with all treatments except LPS (positive control). rBMEC morphology appeared unaffected 24 h after exposure to Au-NPs with only mild changes in fluorescein permeability indicating BBB integrity was unaltered. Together, these data suggest the responses of the cerebral microvasculature to Au-NPs have a significant relationship with the Au-NPs unique size-dependent physiochemical properties.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The current report examines the interactions of silver nanoparticles (Ag-NPs) with the cerebral microvasculature to identify the involvement of proinflammatory mediators that can increase blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability. Primary rat brain microvessel endothelial cells (rBMEC) were isolated from adult Sprague-Dawley rats for an in vitro BBB model. The Ag-NPs were characterized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), dynamic light scattering, and laser Doppler velocimetry. The cellular accumulation, cytotoxicity (6.25-50 μg/cm(3)) and potential proinflammatory mediators (interleukin [IL]-1β, IL-2, tumor necrosis factor [TNF] α, and prostaglandin E(2) [PGE(2)]) of Ag-NPs (25, 40, or 80 nm) were determined spectrophotometrically, cell proliferation assay (2,3-bis[2-methoxy-4-nitro-5-sulfophenyl]-2H-tetrazolium-5-carboxanilide) and ELISA. The results show Ag-NPs-induced cytotoxic responses at lower concentrations for 25 and 40 nm when compared with 80-nm Ag-NPs. The proinflammatory responses in this study demonstrate both Ag-NPs size and time-dependent profiles, with IL-1B preceding both TNF and PGE(2) for 25 nm. However, larger Ag-NPs (40 and 80 nm) induced significant TNF responses at 4 and 8 h, with no observable PGE(2) response. The increased fluorescein transport observed in this study clearly indicates size-dependent increases in BBB permeability correlated with the severity of immunotoxicity. Together, these data clearly demonstrate that larger Ag-NPs (80 nm) had significantly less effect on rBMEC, whereas the smaller particles induced significant effects on all the end points at lower concentrations and/or shorter times. Further, this study suggests that Ag-NPs may interact with the cerebral microvasculature producing a proinflammatory cascade, if left unchecked; these events may further induce brain inflammation and neurotoxicity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent reports indicate that 6-12 h of ketamine anesthesia can trigger neuronal apoptosis in postnatal day (PND) 7 rats. In vitro, ex vivo, and confocal fluorescent imaging studies suggest that dansyl compounds can accumulate within the cytoplasm of the apoptotic cell. High-resolution positron emission tomography (microPET) imaging has been proposed as a minimally invasive method for detecting apoptosis in the rat brain. Compared with [(18)F]-labeled annexin V, which binds to externalized phosphatidylserine (PS) on the outer membrane of apoptotic cells, intracellular uptake of the dansylhydrazone of p-fluorobenzaldehyde (DFNSH) may lead to improved target-to-background contrast ratios. In this study, the effect of ketamine on the uptake and retention of [(18)F]-DFNSH in the rat brain was investigated using microPET imaging. On PND 7, rat pups in the experimental group were exposed, at 2-h intervals, to six subcutaneous injections of ketamine (20 mg/kg) and control rat pups received six injections of saline. On PND 35, [(18)F]-DFNSH (37 MBq) was injected into the tail vein of rats and microPET images were obtained over 2 h following the injection. Radiolabeled tracer accumulation in the region of interest (ROI) in the frontal cortex was converted into standard uptake values (SUVs). The radiotracer was quickly distributed into the brains of both ketamine- and saline-treated rats. Compared with the control group, the uptake of [(18)F]-DFNSH was significantly increased in the ROI, frontal cortex area of ketamine-treated rats. In addition, the wash-out duration of the tracer was prolonged in the ketamine-treated animals. This study demonstrates that microPET imaging is capable of distinguishing differences in retention of [(18)F]-DFNSH in ROI and suggests that this compound may serve as a minimally invasive biomarker of neuronal apoptosis in rodents.
Journal of Neural Transmission 10/2010; 118(2):203-11. · 2.87 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Quinolinic acid (QUIN)-induced toxicity is characterized by N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors over-activation, excitotoxicity and oxidative damage. The characterization of toxic cascades produced by QUIN during the first hours after its striatal infusion is relevant for understanding toxic mechanisms. The role of the receptor-for-advanced-glycation-end-products (RAGE) in the early toxic pattern induced by QUIN was evaluated. RAGE expression - assessed by Western blot analysis and immunofluorescence - was enhanced in the striata of QUIN-lesioned rats at 2h post-lesion. QUIN-induced RAGE up-regulation was accompanied by expression of a RAGE target molecule, nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappaB), and genes encoding for different enzymes. Other toxic markers linked to RAGE activation were increased by QUIN, including NO formation, premature glial response, lactate dehydrogenase leakage, mitochondrial dysfunction and nuclear condensation. Our results suggest that RAGE up-regulation may play a role in the early stages of QUIN toxicity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nanoparticles have received a great deal of attention for producing new engineering applications due to their novel physicochemical characteristics. However, the broad application of nanomaterials has also produced concern for nanoparticle toxicity due to increased exposure from large-scale industry production. This study was conducted to investigate the potential neurotoxicity of manganese (Mn), silver (Ag), and copper (Cu) nanoparticles using the dopaminergic neuronal cell line, PC12. Selective genes associated with the dopaminergic system were investigated for expression changes and their correlation with dopamine depletion. PC12 cells were treated with 10 μg/ml Mn-40 nm, Ag-15 nm, or Cu-90 nm nanoparticles for 24 h. Cu-90 nanoparticles induced dopamine depletion in PC12 cells, which is similar to the effect induced by Mn-40 shown in a previous study. The expression of 11 genes associated with the dopaminergic system was examined using real-time RT-PCR. The expression of Txnrd1 was up-regulated after the Cu-90 treatment and the expression of Gpx1 was down-regulated after Ag-15 or Cu-90 treatment. These alterations are consistent with the oxidative stress induced by metal nanoparticles. Mn-40 induced a down-regulation of the expression of Th; Cu-90 induced an up-regulation of the expression of Maoa. This indicates that besides the oxidation mechanism, enzymatic alterations may also play important roles in the induced dopamine depletion. Mn-40 also induced a down-regulation of the expression of Park2; while the expression of Snca was up-regulated after Mn-40 or Cu-90 treatment. These data suggest that Mn and Cu nanoparticles-induced dopaminergic neurotoxicity may share some common mechanisms associated with neurodegeneration.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acrylamide is a chemical known to produce neurotoxicity in animals, as well as in humans. The mechanism of acrylamide-induced neurotoxicity is not fully known. However, recent studies have revealed that acrylamide affects the dopaminergic system. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the effect of acrylamide on dopamine (DA) and the metabolites, 3,4-dihydroxy phenylacetic acid (DOPAC) and homovanillicacid (HVA), levels in Pheochromocytoma (PC 12) cells. In addition, the generation of peroxynitrite (ONOO(-)), measured by 3-nitrotyrosine (3-NT), was investigated as a possible mechanism in acrylamide-induced neurotoxicity. HPLC-coupled to electrochemical detection (ECD) was used to determine DA, DOPAC, HVA and 3-NT levels. Acrylamide (0.01-5mM) exposure produced a dose- and time (1-42h)-dependent decrease in DA levels. The decrease (P<0.05) in DA levels was noted at 24h after exposure to acrylamide. The study also revealed that 3-NT levels in PC 12 increased as a result of treatment with acrylamide. Thus, these data suggest that acrylamide-induced decrease in DA levels in PC 12 cells may be associated with peroxynitrite formation, measured as 3-NT levels.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It has been reported that suppression of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor function by ketamine may trigger apoptosis of neurons when given repeatedly during the brain growth spurt period. Because microPET scans can provide in vivo molecular imaging at sufficient resolution, it has been proposed as a minimally invasive method for detecting apoptosis using the tracer (18)F-labeled annexin V. In this study, the effect of ketamine on the metabolism and integrity of the rat brain were evaluated by investigating the uptake and retention of (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) and (18)F-annexin V using microPET imaging. On postnatal day (PND) 7, rat pups in the experimental group were exposed to six injections of ketamine (20 mg/kg at 2-h intervals) and control rat pups received six injections of saline. On PND 35, 37 MBq (1 mCi) of (18)F-FDG or (18)F-annexin V was injected into the tail vein of treated and control rats, and static microPET images were obtained over 1 (FDG) and 2 h (annexin V) following the injection. No significant difference was found in (18)F-FDG uptake in the regions of interest (ROIs) in the brains of ketamine-treated rats compared with saline-treated controls. The uptake of (18)F-annexin V, however, was significantly increased in the ROI of ketamine-treated rats. Additionally, the duration of annexin V tracer washout was prolonged in the ketamine-treated animals. These results demonstrate that microPET imaging is capable of distinguishing differences in retention of (18)F-annexin V in different brain regions and suggests that this approach may provide a minimally invasive biomarker of neuronal apoptosis in rats.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nanoparticles are small scale substances (<100 nm) used in biomedical applications, electronics, and energy production. Increased exposure to nanoparticles being produced in large-scale industry facilities elicits concerns for the toxicity of certain classes of nanoparticles. This study evaluated the effects of silver-25 nm (Ag-25) nanoparticles on gene expression in different regions of the mouse brain. Adult-male C57BL/6N mice were administered (i.p.) 100 mg/kg, 500 mg/kg or 1000 mg/kg Ag-25 and sacrificed after 24 h. Regions from the brain were rapidly removed and dissected into caudate nucleus, frontal cortex and hippocampus. Total RNA was isolated from each of the three brain regions collected and real-time RT-PCR analysis was performed using Mouse Oxidative Stress and Antioxidant Defense Arrays. Array data revealed the expression of genes varied in the caudate nucleus, frontal cortex and hippocampus of mice when treated with Ag-25. The data suggest that Ag-25 nanoparticles may produce neurotoxicity by generating free radical-induced oxidative stress and by altering gene expression, producing apoptosis and neurotoxicity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive loss of midbrain dopaminergic neurons with unknown etiology. MPP+ (1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium ion) is the active metabolite of the neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP), which induces Parkinson's-like symptoms in humans and animals. MPTP/MPP+ produces selective dopaminergic neuronal degeneration, therefore, these agents are commonly used to study the pathogenesis of PD. However, the mechanisms of their toxicity have not been fully elucidated. Recently, we reported in a microarray study using a midbrain-derived dopaminergic neuronal cell line, MN9D, that MPP+ induced significant changes in a number of genes known to be associated with the dopaminergic system. In this study, we investigated the expression time courses of six genes using real-time RT-PCR, and compared them with the progressive dopaminergic depletion caused by MPP+. Our data showed that dopamine content was significantly decreased after 0.5h of MPP+ (200 microM) exposure and was completely depleted after 40 h. The expression of Gpr37, which is closely related to the pathogenesis of autosomal recessive juvenile Parkinsonism, was up-regulated after 0.5h, and stayed up-regulated up to 48 h. Txnip, which is critical to the adjustment of cellular redox status, was down-regulated after 1h and stayed down-regulated up to 48 h. Ldh1 and Cdo1, which are also involved in oxidative stress, were down-regulated after 16 h and stayed down-regulated up to 48 h. Two pro-apoptotic genes, Egln3 and Bnip3, were down-regulated after 2 and 4h, and stayed down-regulated up to 48 h. These findings suggested that the time course of expression for multiple genes correlated with the dopaminergic depletion; and MPP+-induced neurotoxicity in MN9D cells could be used as a model to further explore the roles of these and other genes in the pathogenesis and possible treatment of PD.
Neurochemistry International 06/2008; 52(6):1037-43. · 2.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS1. Multiple injections of METH (4 × 10 mg/kg, ip) at room temperature (23°C) produced a significant depletion of dopamine (DA) and its metabolites DOPAC and HVA in striatum at 24 and 72 hr, and 1 and 2 wk.2. Three days post 4 × 10 mg/kg METH at 23°C, an 80% decrease in striatal dopamine (DA) occurred, while the same dose at 4°C produced only a 20% DA decrease, and 4 × 20 mg/kg METH at 4°C produced a 54% DA decrease. A similar pattern in the decreases of the DA metabolites DOPAC and HVA was observed after METH administration.3. At 23°C (+)MK-801 completely blocked while phenobarbital (40% decrease) and diazepam (65% decrease) partially blocked decreases in striatal DA produced by 4 × 10 mg/kg METH. Decreases in DOPAC and HVA were similar to the decreases in DA after METH and antagonists.4. Multiple injections of METH (4 × 10 mg/kg, ip) at room temperature also produced a significant depletion of serotonin (5-HT) in striatum at 24 and 72 hr, and 1 and 2 wk. The depletion of 5-HT metabolite 5-HIAA was found only at 72 hr post-dosing.5. This depletion of 5-FIT and its metabolite 5-HIAA at room temperature was blocked either by changing the environmental temperature to 4°C, or by pretreatment with MK-801, diazepam and phenobarbital after METH treatment.6. Therefore, these data suggest that drugs that block METH toxicity, such as haloperidol (D2 receptors), pentobarbital and phenobarbital (chloride channels) and MK-801 (NMDA/glutamate receptors), do not necessarily have the same mechanism of action but may either induce hypothermia or block induction of hyperthermia.7. In summary, these studies show that in the mouse, environmental temperature greatly influences METH neurotoxicity, and that the protective effects of compounds such as diazepam, phenobarbital and MK-801 may be mediated by blockade of METH-induced hyperthermia.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 12/2006; 801(1):187 - 198. · 4.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MPP(+) (1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium; the active metabolite of the neurotoxin MPTP (1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,5,6-tetrahydropyridine)) depletes dopamine (DA) content and elicits cell death in PC12 cells. However, the mechanism of MPP(+)-induced neurotoxicity is still unclear. In this study, the dose response and time-course of MPP(+)-induced DA depletion and decreased cell viability were determined in nerve growth factor (NGF)-differentiated PC12 cells. The alteration of transcription factors (TFs) induced by MPP(+) from a selected dose level and time point was then evaluated using protein/DNA-binding arrays. K-means clustering analysis identified four patterns of protein/DNA-binding changes. Three of the 28 TFs identified in PC12 cells increased by 100% (p53, PRE, Smad SBE) and 2 decreased by 50% (HSE, RXR(DR1)) of control with MPP(+) treatment. In addition, three TFs decreased within the range of 33-50% (TFIID, E2F1, CREB) and two TFs increased within the range of 50-100% (PAX-5, Stat4). An electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) was used to confirm the changes of p53 and HSE. The observed changes in TFs correlated with the alterations of DA and cell viability. The data indicates that selective transcription factors are involved in MPP(+)-induced neurotoxicity and it provides mechanistic information that may be applicable to animal studies with MPTP and clinical studies of Parkinson's disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plasma levels of parent compounds and metabolites were determined in adult rhesus monkeys after doses of either 5mg/kg d-fenfluramine (FEN) or 10mg/kg d-3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) i.m. twice daily for four consecutive days. These treatment regimens have been previously shown to produce long-term serotonin (5-HT) depletions. Peak plasma levels of 2.0+/-0.4 microM FEN were reached within 40min after the first dose of FEN, and then declined rapidly, while peak plasma levels (0.4+/-0.1 microM) of the metabolite norfenfluramine (NFEN) were not reached until 6h after dosing. After the seventh (next to last) dose of FEN, peak plasma levels of FEN were 35% greater than after the first dose while peak NFEN-levels were 500% greater. The t(1/2) for FEN was 2.6+/-0.3h after the first dose and 3.2+/-0.2h after the seventh. The estimated t(1/2) for NFEN was more than 37.6+/-20.5h. Peak plasma levels of 9.5+/-2.5 microM MDMA were reached within 20min after the first dose of MDMA, and then declined rapidly, while peak plasma levels (0.9+/-0.2 microM) of the metabolite 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) were not reached until 3-6h after dosing. After the seventh (next to last) dose of MDMA, peak plasma levels of MDMA were 30% greater than the first dose while peak MDA levels were elevated over 200%. The t(1/2) for MDMA was 2.8+/-0.4h after the first and 3.9+/-1.1h after the seventh dose. The estimated t(1/2) for MDA was about 8.3+/-1.0h. Variability in plasma levels of MDMA and MDA between subjects was much greater than that for FEN and NFEN. This variability in MDMA and MDA exposure levels may have lead to variability in the subsequent disruption of some behaviors seen in these same subjects. There were 80% reductions in the plasma membrane-associated 5-HT transporters 6 months after either the FEN or MDMA dosing regimen indicating that both treatments produced long-term serotonergic effects.