E for Ecstasy by Nicholas Saunders
Appendix 1: Reference Section
- 57 Effects of MDMA on Autonomic Thermoregulatory Responses of
the Rat, by Christopher Gordon et al., 1990
- Rats were observed at ambient temperatures of 10 degrees , 20 degrees
and 30 degrees C. Measurements were made of their metabolic rate, evaporative
water loss [equivalent to sweating, but rats lick their fur instead], hyperthermia,
hypothermia, motor activity, skin temperature, heart rate and 'lethality'.
Each rat was measured after being administered plain saline and also after
30mg/kg MDMA in saline. The following results occurred when the rats were
given MDMA but not when they were given plain saline: (1) The rats lost
water through evaporation far more rapidly at 30 degrees ; (2) They increased
their metabolic rate and maintained a higher ambient temperature instead
of attempting to reduce their temperature; (3) They maintained the same
activity instead of reducing it when the temperature rose; (4) They showed
a sharp rise in body temperature instead of a fall in temperature at 30
degrees and a fall instead of rise in temperature at 10 degrees and (5)
They increased their heart rates by varying amounts at 30 degrees . At the
high temperature, the rats' core body temperature increased rapidly before
they died. Rats' tail temperature did not increase. [Raising tail temperature
is their normal way of getting rid of heat.] The cause of death was not
examined but appeared consistent with overheating.
- The mechanism of the effect was not studied but the changes in body
temperature were presumed to be affected by the level of serotonin present
in parts of the brain, which is altered by MDMA.
- I spoke to Dr. Gordon on the phone and learned that he is a specialist
in temperature control mechanisms. MDMA is one of the most effective compounds
he has tried for making animals lose control of their body temperature.
They actually seemed to prefer hot ambient temperatures when they were already
too hot, although this had not yet been tested. Although MDMA inhibits heat
loss in rats through their tails, they do "drool all over the place"
trying to keep cool.
- Dr. Gordon has made a long chamber 1 foot in diameter with one end kept
hot and the other cool. Animals can be put inside so they can choose whatever
ambient temperature they prefer.
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