Lack of Muscle Protein (UCP-3) May Prevent Ecstasy Hyperthermia

December 9, 2003

Some people who use ecstasy become hyperthermic (overheated) and die from heart or kidney failure. Scientists have discovered that a protein (UCP-3) found in muscle tissue may be responsible for the increases in body temperature caused by ecstasy. When normal mice were given ecstasy, their body temperature rose almost 2oC (3.6oF). Many of these normal mice died after receiving the ecstasy. Mice that lacked UCP-3, however, did not become hyperthermic and none of them died after the ecstasy treatment.

These data suggest a new treatment for people who overdose on ecstasy. New drugs that work to block UCP-3 may prevent or reverse hyperthermia caused by ecstasy.

Reference and more information about MDMA, see:
  1. Mills, E.M., Banks, M.L. , Sprague, J.E. and Finkel, T., Uncoupling the agony from ecstasy, Nature, 426:403-404, 2003.
  2. Ecstasy (MDMA) Alone Can Kill
  4. Ecstasy Infofax - from the National Institute on Drug Abuse
  5. Ecstasy and the Heart - Neuroscience for Kids

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