MDMA-evoked changes in the binding of dopamine D2receptor ligands in striatum of rats with unilateral serotonin depletion
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We earlier reported an anomalous 50% decrease in [(11)C]N-methylspiperone ([(11)C]NMSP) binding to dopamine D(2)-like receptors in living pig striatum after challenge with 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, "Ecstasy"), suggesting either (1) a species peculiarity in the vulnerability of butyrophenone binding to competition from dopamine or (2) a novel consequence of synergistic actions of serotonin and dopamine at dopamine receptors. To distinguish these possibilities, we used microPET to test the vulnerability of [(11)C]NMSP binding in striatum of rats with unilateral telencephalic serotonin lesions, later verified by [(125)I]RTI-55 autoradiography. Baseline [(11)C]NMSP microPET recordings were followed by either saline or MDMA-HCl (4 mg/kg) injections (i.v.), and a second [(11)C]NMSP recording, culminating with injection of [(3)H]raclopride for autoradiography ex vivo. Neither MDMA-challenge nor serotonin lesion had any detectable effect on [(11)C]NMSP binding. In contrast, MDMA challenge increased receptor occupancy by [(3)H]raclopride ex vivo (relative to the B(max) in vitro) from 8% to 12%, and doubled the free ligand concentration in cerebral cortex, apparently by blocking hepatic CYP2D6. Assuming a single binding-site model, the increased [(3)H]raclopride binding indicated doubling of the apparent equilibrium dissociation constant in vivo (K(app) (d)), revealing a 2-fold increase in competition from endogenous dopamine at [(3)H]raclopride binding sites. The results favor hypothesis (1) that the remarkable vulnerability of [(11)C]NMSP binding in pig striatum to MDMA challenge does not generalize to the rodent.
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