3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, Ecstasy) is a substituted amphetamine with potent central nervous stimulant effects. Increasing evidence suggests that one way of MDMA-induced toxicity involves the production of reactive oxygen and reactive nitrogen species and a subsequent production of oxidative/nitrosative stress. The free radicals can originate from several molecular pathways (oxidative deamination of monoamine, metabolic pathways, cathecolamines autoxidation, and hyperthermia) and their harmful effect causing potential biological damage such as lipoperoxidation and cellular death. The role of oxidative stress in mediating MDMA toxicity is illustrated by decreases in the activity of the endogenous enzymatic and non enzymatic antioxidants observed in cells in vitro and in animals model. This review examines the available evidence for the involvement of oxidative stress in the mechanisms of MDMA-induced cellular damage with the aim to contribute to the understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in MDMA toxicity.
Keywords: Antioxidant enzymes, ascorbic acid, glutathione, lipoperoxidation, MDMA, oxidative-stress, ROS, toxicity
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