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The Neurobiology of Ecstasy (MDMA)

3: Serotonin transporters

Illustration of Serotonin neuron showing free serotonin in the synapse and being bound and transported

Serotonin (in pink) is present in the synaptic space only for a limited amount of time. If it is not bound to the serotonin receptor, serotonin is removed from the synaptic space via special proteins called transporters (in green). The serotonin transporters are proteins located on the serotonin neuron terminals and they are in a unique position to transport serotonin from the synaptic space back into the neuron where it can be metabolized by enzymes. Explain to your students that the serotonin transporters are the primary targets for ecstasy.

This page was last updated January 2007

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National Institute of Drug Abuse (2007). 3: Serotonin transporters. In The Neurobiology of Ecstasy (MDMA). Retrieved from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/neurobiology-ecstasy/section-ii/3-serotonin-transporters

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