Neurotoxicity of Drugs of Abuse

  • Jean Lud Cadet


The amphetamines are drugs of abuse that are presently seeing a significant resurgence. In California, it has been suggested that methamphetamine (METH) will surpass cocaine as the preferential drug of abuse. This might be related to the relative ease of its synthesis and the focus of government agencies on cocaine. Unlike cocaine, the amphetamines are, however, known causes of major neurotoxic damage to mammalian monoaminergic systems (1–3) For example, METH depletes dopamine (DA) and its metabolites (1,2,4,5), depletes DA uptake sites (1,6) and causes marked decreases in tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) activity in the nigrostriatal DA system. METH can also cause significant alterations in the serotonin (5-HT) system depending on the doses of the drug used in the experiments. In contrast to the effects of METH, another closely related analog, methyldioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, “ecstasy”) exerts most of its effects on the serotoninergic system of most mammals (including humans) except in mice, where MDMA affects mainly the dopaminergic system (2,7).


Nitric Oxide Tyrosine Hydroxylase Down Syndrome Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide Dialuric Acid 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

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  • Jean Lud Cadet

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