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ONU’s College of Pharmacy receives NIH funding to study the toxic effects of the club drug Ecstasy

Aug 2, 2007
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have awarded to Ohio Northern University's Raabe College of Pharmacy $247,500 to study the cellular mechanisms by which the popular club drug Ecstasy increases body temperatures.

Dr. Jon Sprague, professor of pharmacology and dean of the College of Pharmacy at ONU, is the principal investigator on the project. Dr. Sprague and co-investigator, Dr. Edward (Ted) Mills from the University of Texas, have been studying body temperature regulations for more than a decade.

"These studies extend well beyond understanding how Ecstasy increases body temperature and expands our knowledge of body temperature regulations," Sprague said. "Our findings may have therapeutic applications to other disease states characterized by hyperthermia such as hot flashes associated with menopause."

Ecstasy-induced hyperthermia is the most acute and life-threatening complication associated with the drug.

The research project will examine the mechanisms by which Ecstasy activates proteins in skeletal muscle and brown adipose tissue that generate heat production. Drs. Sprague and Mills have previous shown that deletion of these proteins prevents hyperthermia induced by Ecstasy and other drugs of abuse such as methamphetamine.