Geonotoxicity study of illegal drug MDMA and its nitroso derivative N-MDMA by micronucleus and chromosomal aberration tests using Chinese hamsger lung fibroblast cell line

  • Hayato YoshiokaEmail author
  • Hidesuke Shimizu
  • Yoshimitsu Toyama
  • Yuichi Miyakoshi
  • Yuji Suzuki
  • Ryo Takagi
Original Article



An increase in incidence of the illegal use of tablets containing 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine hydrochloride (MDMA) has recently become a widespread social problem. MDMA ingested orally reacts with nitrite in the stomach and is synthesized intoN-nitroso-3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (N-MDMA). The aim of this study is to investigate the genotoxic effects of MDMA and N-MDMA on the basis of the results of an in vitro micronucleus (MN) test and an in vitro chromosomal aberration (CA) test using a Chinese hamster lung fibroblast cell line (CHL/IU).


Tablets containing MDMA obtained from the Regional Bureau of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare were purified, and N-MDMA was synthesized from MDMA in our laboratory. To evaluate the effects of MDMA and N-MDMA, the MN test established by our laboratory and the CA test in accordance with the guidelines for toxicity studies of drugs recommended by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare were performed.


In the MN test, no increased frequency of MNs was not found for MDMA. On the other hand, an apparently increased frequency of MNs was observed for N-MDMA. In the CA test, no CA was found for MDMA, but CA was observed for N-MDMA apparently.


N-MDMA genotoxicity was observed in the MN and CA tests. However, no MDMA genotoxicity was observed.

Key words

MDMA N-MDMA genotoxicity micronucleus test chromosomal aberration test 


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Copyright information

© Japanese Society of Hygiene 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hayato Yoshioka
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hidesuke Shimizu
    • 1
  • Yoshimitsu Toyama
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yuichi Miyakoshi
    • 1
  • Yuji Suzuki
    • 1
  • Ryo Takagi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Public Health and Environmental MedicineThe Jikei University School of MedicineTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Criminal Investigation LaboratoryMetropolitan Police DepartmentTokyoJapan

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