Effects of MDMA on blood glucose levels and brain glucose metabolism

  • M. L. Soto-Montenegro
  • J. J. Vaquero
  • C. Arango
  • G. Ricaurte
  • P. García-Barreno
  • M. DescoEmail author
Original article



This study was designed to assess changes in glucose metabolism in rats administered single or repeated doses of MDMA.


Two different experiments were performed: (1) A single-dose study with four groups receiving 20 mg/kg, 40 mg/kg, saline or heat, and (2) a repeated-dose study with two groups receiving three doses, at intervals of 2 h, of 5 mg/kg or saline. Rats were imaged using a dedicated small-animal PET scanner 1 h after single-dose administration or 7 days after repeated doses. Glucose metabolism was measured in 12 cerebral regions of interest. Rectal temperature and blood glucose were monitored.


Peak body temperature was reached 1 h after MDMA administration. Blood glucose levels decreased significantly after MDMA administration. In the single-dose experiment, brain glucose metabolism showed hyperactivation in cerebellum and hypo-activation in the hippocampus, amygdala and auditory cortex. In the repeated-dose experiment, brain glucose metabolism did not show any significant change at day 7.


These results are the first to indicate that MDMA has the potential to produce significant hypoglycaemia. In addition, they show that MDMA alters glucose metabolism in components of the motor, limbic and somatosensory systems acutely but not on a long-term basis.


MDMA PET FDG Brain metabolism 



This work has been supported by grants from “Red Temática G03/185 and G03/032: Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria”, “Agencia Antidroga de la Comunidad de Madrid” and “Ministerio del Interior”. We thank the National Institute on Drug Abuse for supplying the MDMA and the Atomic, Molecular, and Nuclear Physics Department, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, for reconstructing the PET images.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. L. Soto-Montenegro
    • 1
  • J. J. Vaquero
    • 1
  • C. Arango
    • 2
  • G. Ricaurte
    • 3
  • P. García-Barreno
    • 1
  • M. Desco
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratorio de Imagen, Medicina ExperimentalHospital General Universitario Gregorio MarañonMadridSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de PsiquiatriaHospital General Gregorio MarañonMadridSpain
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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