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January 1989

Neuroendocrine and Mood Responses to Intravenous L-Tryptophan in 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) Users: Preliminary Observations

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, and the Connecticut Mental Health Center, Clinical Neuroscience Research Unit, Ribicoff Research Facilities, New Haven, Conn (Drs Price, Krystal, and Heninger); and the Department of Neurology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore (Dr Ricaurte).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1989;46(1):20-22. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1989.01810010022003

• 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; "ecstasy") is a selective serotonin (5-HT) neurotoxin in laboratory animals. To assess its effects on 5-HT function in humans, serum prolactin (PRL) and mood responses to intravenous L-tryptophan were measured in nine recreational users of MDMA and compared with findings from nine matched healthy controls. L-Tryptophan induced a rise in the PRL concentration in controls, but not in MDMA users. Peak change and the area under the curve of the PRL response appeared to be blunted in MDMA users, but the difference from controls did not reach statistical significance. This study provides suggestive evidence of altered 5-HT function in MDMA users, but more definitive studies clearly are needed.

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