, Volume 114, Issue 3, pp 505–508 | Cite as

Effect of ambient temperature on hyperthermia and hyperkinesis induced by 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or “ecstasy”) in rats

  • Richard Ian Dafters
Original Investigations


A stress-free, biotelemetric monitoring technique was used to investigate the effects of ambient temperature (Ta) on the hyperthermic and hyperkinetic effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine. In the first experiment a single injection of 5.0 or 7.5 mg/kg MDMA produced hyperthermia in rats maintained at aTa of 24°C but hypothermia in rats maintained at aTa of 11°C for 24 h prior to the injection. In contrast, hyperkinesis was induced at bothTas. In the second experiment, the effects of acute MDMA administration was compared in rats maintained at a standardTa of 24°C and in rats which were placed in a cool (11°C) room for a brief (90-min) period commencing 30 min after the injection. The brief exposure to the cool environment produced significant attenuation of MDMA-induced hyperthermia but did not affect the magnitude of hyperkinesis. The implications of the results for the understanding of the thermotoxic effects of MDMA in human drug users are discussed.

Key words

MDMA Hyperthermia Hyperkinesis Ambient temperature 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Cunningham CL, Peris J (1983) A microcomputer system for temperature biotelemetry. Behav Res Methods Instrum 6:598–603Google Scholar
  2. Dafters RI, Taggart P (1990) Interaction of circadian rhythm and opiate-induced thermic and kinetic responses: a biotelemetric investigation. Life Sci 47:2155–2161Google Scholar
  3. Dafters RI, Taggart P (1992) A biotelemetric investigation of morphine's thermic and kinetic effects. Psychopharmacology 106:195–201Google Scholar
  4. Eikelboom R (1986) Learned anticipatory rise in body temperature due to handling. Physiol Behav 37:649–653Google Scholar
  5. Gordon CJ, Watkinson WP, O'Callaghan JP, Miller DB (1991) Effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine on autonomic thermoregulatory responses of the rat. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 38:339–344Google Scholar
  6. Henry JA, Jeffreys KJ, Dawling S (1992) Toxicity and deaths from 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (“ecstasy”). Lancet 340:384–387Google Scholar
  7. Jacob JJ, Girault J-M (1979) 5-Hydroxytryptamine. In: Lomax P, Schonebaums (eds) Body temperature regulation, drug effects and therapeutic implications. Dekker, New York; pp 183–230Google Scholar
  8. Johnson MP, Hoffman AJ, Nichols DE (1986) Effects of the enantiomers of MDA, MDMA and related analogues on [H3]dopamine release from superfused rat brain slices. Eur J Pharmacol 132:269–276Google Scholar
  9. Myers RD (1980) Hypothalamic control of thermoregulation — neurochemical mechanisms. In: Morgane PJ, Panksepp J (eds) Handbook of the hypothalamus. Dekker, New York; pp 83–210Google Scholar
  10. Nash JF, Meltzer HY, Gudelsky GA (1988) Elevation of serum prolactin and corticosterone concentrations in the rat after administration of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 245:873–879Google Scholar
  11. Peris J, Cunningham JL (1986) Handling-induced enhancement of ethanol's acute physiological effects. Life Sci 38:273–279Google Scholar
  12. Robinson TE, Becker JB (1986) Enduring changes in brain and behavior produced by chronic amphetamine administration: a review and evaluation of animal models of amphetamine psychosis. Brain Res Rev 11:157–198Google Scholar
  13. Schmidt CJ, Levin JA, Lovenberg W (1987) In vitro and in vivo neurochemical effects of methylenedioxymethamphetamine on striatal monoaminergic systems in the rat brain. Biochem Pharmacol 36:747–755Google Scholar
  14. Screaton GR, Cairns HS, Sarner M, Singer M, Thrasher A, Cohen SL (1992) Hyperpyrexia and rhabdomyolysis after MDMA (“ecstasy”) abuse. Lancet 339:677–678Google Scholar
  15. Spanos LJ, Yamamoto BK (1989) Aucte and subchronic effects of methylenedioxymethamphetamine [(±)MDMA] on locomotion and serotonin syndrome behavior in the rat. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 32:835–840Google Scholar
  16. Tehan B (1993) Ecstasy and dantrolene. BMJ 306:146Google Scholar
  17. Ugedo L, Grenhoff J, Svensson TH (1989) Ritanserin, a 5-HT2 receptor antagonist, activates midbrain dopamine neurons by blocking serotonergic inhibition. Psychopharmacology 98:45–50Google Scholar
  18. Yamamoto BK, Spanos LJ (1988) The acute effects of methylenedioxymethamphetamine on dopamine release in the awakebehaving rat. Eur J Pharmacol 148:195–203Google Scholar
  19. Yehuda S, Kahn M (1977)d-Amphetamine thermal effects, metabolic rate and motor activity in rats. Int J Neurosci 7:207–210Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Ian Dafters
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentGlasgow UniversityGlasgowUK

Personalised recommendations