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Long-term consequences of ecstasy abuse: towards understanding the role of individual variation

22 January 2010

PhD Ceremony: mw. A.E. Wallinga, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: Long-term consequences of ecstasy abuse: towards understanding the role of individual variation

Promotor(s): prof.dr. J.M. Koolhaas

Faculty: Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Contact: Alinde Wallinga, tel. 0044 173 31 3126/00 44 117 331 3137, e-mail:

Long-term consequences of ecstasy abuse: towards understanding the role of individual variation

Individuals differ considerably in their response to ecstasy. Whereas some are vulnerable to develop behavioral changes or neuroxicity, others seem more resistant. The aim of the research of Alinde Wallinga was to investigate which factors (intrinsic and extrinsic) contribute to the individual vulnerability to the negative consequences of ecstasy. This has been investigated by her in mice and rats.

Ecstasy is one of the most commonly used illegal substances worldwide, especially among adolescents and young adults. The increasing popularity of ecstasy has lead to concerns about the long-term adverse effects on users. Of particular concern from the public health perspective are the possible neurotoxic effects and persistent changes in behavior.

More in detail, the research of Wallinga focussed on the role of differences in personality traits, genetic make-up, ambient temperature, body temperature and gender in relation to differences in ecstasy induced neurotoxicity and behavioral changes. Her results showed that in the presence of a high ambient temperature ecstasy results in a higher hyperthermia, which was related to an increase in neurotoxicity. Regarding the intrinsic factors, no differences in neurotoxicity was found when comparing high and low aggressive rats. However, low aggressive but not high aggressive rats showed a persistent increase in aggressive behavior after ecstasy administration. Gender was shown to be related with ecstasy induced differences in the acute and long-term hyperthermic effects, but not with differences in neurotoxicity. Finally, in contrast to what was expected according to the current hypotheses, ecstasy induced serotonergic neurotoxicity in serotonin transporter knock-out rats.

Last modified:13 March 2020 01.16 a.m.
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