The Mixture of ''Ecstasy'' and Its Metabolites Impairs Mitochondrial Fusion/Fission Equilibrium and Trafficking in Hippocampal Neurons, at In Vivo Relevant Concentrations

Daniel José Barbosa, Luísa Maria da Silva Pinto Ferreira, Roman Serrat, Serena Mirra, Marti Quevedo, Elena Gomez de Barreda, Jesus Avila, Luísa Maria Ferreira, Paula Cristina de Sério Branco, Eduarda Fernandes, Maria Lourdes Bastos, João Paulo Capela, Eduardo Soriano, Felix Carvalho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; ``ecstasy{''}) is a potentially neurotoxic recreational drug of abuse. Though the mechanisms involved are still not completely understood, formation of reactive metabolites and mitochondrial dysfunction contribute to MDMA-related neurotoxicity. Neuronal mitochondrial trafficking, and their targeting to synapses, is essential for proper neuronal function and survival, rendering neurons particularly vulnerable to mitochondrial dysfunction. Indeed, MDMA-associated disruption of Ca2+ homeostasis and ATP depletion have been described in neurons, thus suggesting possible MDMA interference on mitochondrial dynamics. In this study, we performed real-time functional experiments of mitochondrial trafficking to explore the role of in situ mitochondrial dysfunction in MDMA's neurotoxic actions. We show that the mixture of MDMA and six of its major in vivo metabolites, each compound at 10 mu M, impaired mitochondrial trafficking and increased the fragmentation of axonal mitochondria in cultured hippocampal neurons. Furthermore, the overexpression of mitofusin 2 (Mfn2) or dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) K38A constructs almost completely rescued the trafficking deficits caused by this mixture. Finally, in hippocampal neurons overexpressing a Mfn2 mutant, Mfn2 R94Q, with impaired fusion and transport properties, it was confirmed that a dysregulation of mitochondrial fission/fusion events greatly contributed to the reported trafficking phenotype. In conclusion, our study demonstrated, for the first time, that the mixture of MDMA and its metabolites, at concentrations relevant to the in vivo scenario, impaired mitochondrial trafficking and increased mitochondrial fragmentation in hippocampal neurons, thus providing a new insight in the context of ``ecstasy{''}-induced neuronal injury.}}
Original languageEnglish
Article numberkfu042
Pages (from-to)407-420
JournalToxicological Sciences
Volume139
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014

Keywords

  • 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; "ecstasy")
  • MDMA's metabolites
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Mitochondrial fusion/fission
  • Mitochondrial trafficking
  • Neurotoxicity

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