Despite numerous reports about the acute and sub-chronic toxicities caused by MDMA (3,4- methylenedioxymethamphetamine, ecstasy), the underlying mechanism of organ damage is poorly understood. The aim of this review is to present an update of the mechanistic studies on MDMA-mediated organ damage partly caused by increased oxidative/nitrosative stress. Because of the extensive reviews on MDMA-mediated oxidative stress and tissue damage, we specifically focus on the mechanisms and consequences of oxidative-modifications of mitochondrial proteins, leading to mitochondrial dysfunction. We briefly describe a method to systematically identify oxidatively-modified mitochondrial proteins in control and MDMA-exposed rats by using biotin-N-maleimide (biotin-NM) as a sensitive probe for oxidized proteins. We also describe various applications and advantages of this Cys-targeted proteomics method and alternative approaches to overcome potential limitations of this method in studying oxidized proteins from MDMA-exposed tissues. Finally we discuss the mechanism of synergistic drug-interaction between MDMA and other abused substances including alcohol (ethanol) as well as application of this redox-based proteomics method in translational studies for developing effective preventive and therapeutic agents against MDMA-induced organ damage.
Keywords: MDMA, metabolism, oxidative/nitrosative stress, protein oxidation, functional redox proteomics, mitochondrial dysfunction, organ damage
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