Dopamine receptors gene expression in male rat hippocampus after administration of MDMA (Ecstasy).

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Mahakizadeh Simin; Jahanshahi Mehrdad; Haidari Kamran & Shahbazi Majid


Ecstasy is one of the most popular amusing drugs among young people. Documents indicate some effects of Ecstasy on hippocampus and close relations between dopaminergic functions with reward learning. Therefore, the aim of this study was evaluation of the chronic effects of Ecstasy on memory in male Wistar rats and determination of dopamine receptors' gene expression in hippocampus. Forty adult male Wistar rats randomly distributed in five groups: Control, sham (received 1 ml/kg 0.9% saline) and three experimental groups were: Exp. 1 (2.5 mg/kg), Exp. 2 (5 mg/kg), and Exp. 3 (10 mg/kg) received MDMA intraperitoneally once every 7 days (3 times a day, 3 hours apart) for 4 weeks. Before the first injection animals trained in Shuttle Box memory and tested after the last injection. 24 hours after the final testing, brains of rats were dissected and hippocampus was removed and homogenized. After total RNA extraction and cDNA synthesis, expression of dopamine receptor genes in the hippocampus determined with Real-Time PCR. Our results showed that 2.5 and 5 mg/kg MDMA-treated groups had memory impairment. Also we found that MDMA increased the mRNA expression of dopamine receptors in hippocampus and the highest increase found in dopamine D1 receptors in the 5 mg/kg experimental group. We concluded that low doses of Ecstasy could increase Dopamine takers gene expression in hippocampus and disorder avoidance memory. But in high doses the increase in Dopamine takers gene expression was not as much as that in low doses and avoidance memory disorder was not observed.

KEY WORDS: MDMA; Dopamine Receptors; Gene expression; Hippocampus; Rat.

How to cite this article

SIMIN, M.; MEHRDAD, J.; KAMRAN, H. & MAJID, S. Dopamine receptors gene expression in male rat hippocampus after administration of MDMA (Ecstasy). Int. J. Morphol., 33(1):301-308, 2015.