Chronic stress enhances the corticosterone response and neurotoxicity to +3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA): The role of ambient temperature

Bethann N. Johnson, Bryan K. Yamamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


Stress facilitates drug abuse by humans. In rodents, stress enhances the neurochemical, neuroendocrine, and behavioral responses to psychostimulants. Although chronic unpredictable stress (CUS) enhances the acute hyperthermic and longterm monoamine-depleting effects of the psychostimulant +3,4- methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), the roles of hyperthermia and corticosterone (CORT) in mediating the stress-induced enhancement of MDMA-induced serotonin (5-HT) and dopamine (DA) depletions are unknown. Rats were exposed to 10 days of CUS and then challenged with MDMA (5 mg/kg i.p. once every 2 h for a total of four injections). Prior exposure to CUS augmented MDMA-induced hyperthermia and plasma CORT secretion and the long-term depletions in 5-HT content in striatum, hippocampus, and frontal cortex and DA content in striatum. A reduced ambient temperature of 21°C attenuated the hyperthermia, CORT secretion, and 5-HT decreases after MDMA in nonstressed rats. The lower ambient temperature also prevented the augmented hyperthermia, CORT secretion, and enhanced 5-HT and DA depletions after MDMA in chronically stressed rats to levels exhibited by non-stressed, MDMA-treated rats. To investigate the role of CORT on monoamine depletions in response to MDMA, stressed and nonstressed rats were treated with the CORT synthesis inhibitor metyrapone during exposure to MDMA. Metyrapone prevented CORT secretion in both stressed and nonstressed rats but did not modify 5-HT or DA depletions in any brain region examined. This study suggests that enhanced CORT is a consequence of enhanced hyperthermia and the CUS-induced enhancements of MDMA-induced monoamine depletions may be mediated by hyperthermia but not CORT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-189
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Chronic stress enhances the corticosterone response and neurotoxicity to +3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA): The role of ambient temperature'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this