Altered energy production, lowered antioxidant potential, and inflammatory processes mediate CNS damage associated with abuse of the psychostimulants MDMA and methamphetamine

Luke A. Downey, Jennifer M. Loftis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

20 Scopus citations


Central nervous system (CNS) damage associated with psychostimulant dependence may be an ongoing, degenerative process with adverse effects on neuropsychiatric function. However, the molecular mechanisms regarding how altered energy regulation affects immune response in the context of substance use disorders are not fully understood. This review summarizes the current evidence regarding the effects of psychostimulant [particularly 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA) and methamphetamine] exposure on brain energy regulation, immune response, and neuropsychiatric function. Importantly, the neuropsychiatric impairments (e.g.; cognitive deficits, depression, and anxiety) that persist following abstinence are associated with poorer treatment outcomes - increased relapse rates, lower treatment retention rates, and reduced daily functioning. Qualifying the molecular changes within the CNS according to the exposure and use patterns of specifically abused substances should inform the development of new therapeutic approaches for addiction treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-129
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 15 2014



  • 34-Methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA)
  • Bioenergetics
  • Inflammation
  • Methamphetamine
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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