Review paper: MDMA and the brain: A short review on the role of neurotransmitters in neurotoxicity

Nor Suliana Mustafa, Nor Hidayah Abu Bakar, Nasir Mohamad, Liyana Hazwani Mohd Adnan, Nurul Farah Aina Md Fauzi, Abdulsoma Thoarlim, Syed Hadzrullathfi Syed Omar, Mohd Shafiee Hamzah, Zawawi Yusoff, Mahdi Jufri, Rashidi Ahmad

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


N-Methyl-3, 4-methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDMA), or ecstasy is a recreational drug of abuse. It is a synthetic substance that affects the body’s systems, which its mechanism of action and treatment should be more investigated. MDMA provides an immediate enjoyable feeling by stimulating the release of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin in the brain. Unfortunately, abnormal regulation of the brain neurotransmitters, as well as the increased oxidative stress causes damage to the brain neurons after the MDMA exposure. Only a few studies have been done regarding its treatment. Thus, the treatment of MDMA complications should be further explored mainly by targeting its mechanism of action in the neurotransmitter systems. Hence, this study presents a short review regarding the recent findings on the role of neurotransmitters to cause MDMA neurotoxicity. The results will be useful for future research in elucidating the potential treatment based on the targeted mechanisms to treat the neurotoxic effects of MDMA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-388
Number of pages8
JournalBasic and Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • Brain injuries
  • MDMA
  • Memory
  • Neurotransmitter
  • Therapy


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