Paroxetine Inhibits Acute Effects of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine on the Immune System in Humans

Roberta Pacifici, Simona Pichini, Piergiorgio Zuccaro, Magí Farré, Mireia Segura, Jordi Ortuño, Simonetta Di Carlo, Antonella Bacosi, Pere N. Roset, Jordi Segura, Rafael De La Torre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of pretreatment with paroxetine on cell-mediated immune response and release of cytokines after the administration of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, "ecstasy") was investigated in a double-blind, randomized, crossover, controlled clinical trial in which 12 healthy male recreational users of MDMA participated. Subjects received 20 mg/day paroxetine (or placebo) for the 3 days before MDMA challenge (100 mg). Acute MDMA administration produced a time-dependent decrease in CD4 T-helper cells, a decrease in the functional responsiveness of lymphocytes to mitogenic stimulation, a simultaneous increase in natural killer (NK) cells as well as cortisol and prolactin stimulation kinetics. A high increase in the release of anti-inflammatory cytokines (transforming growth factor-β and interleukin-10) with a simultaneous decrease of anti-inflammatory response (interleukin-2) was also observed. Pretreatment with paroxetine partially reduced MDMA effects on CD4 T and NK cells, whereas totally inhibiting the suppression of the immune response to mitogens and alterations in cytokines release. MDMA-induced alterations in the immune system as well as antagonistic effects mediated by paroxetine show a trend toward baseline levels at 24 h. These findings suggest that acute effects of MDMA on immune system are mainly mediated by its interaction with the serotonin transporter and subsequent serotonin release with a possible participation of other neuroendocrine regulatory systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-292
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2004


Dive into the research topics of 'Paroxetine Inhibits Acute Effects of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine on the Immune System in Humans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this