Jerrold S. Meyer

Another scientist at UMass AMherst who is experimenting on primates (as well as other species) is Jerrold S. Meyer. He has also collaborated with Novak on some papers. His experiments are particularly atrocious because they involve giving Rhesus Monkeys MDMA or Ecstasy (the illegal drug) to see how it damages them. These experiments are clearly unnecessary and cruel.
This is what the UMass website says about him:

Jerrold S. Meyer
Neurochemistry; Neuropharmacology; Neurobehavioral Effects of Abused Drugs During Development

The main theme of my laboratory concerns the neurochemical, neurotoxic, and behavioral effects of psychostimulant drugs. Our current research is focused on MDMA (also known as “Ecstasy”), a recreational drug that is widely used and sometimes abused by adolescents and young adults. MDMA is a potent releaser of the neurotransmitter serotonin, and it also stimulates dopamine and norepinephrine release. These effects are thought to underlie the complex psychological properties of MDMA in humans, which include arousal, euphoria, increased sensitivity to sensory stimuli, and enhanced sociality. In laboratory animals such as rats and monkeys, high doses of MDMA are thought to damage serotonergic fibers in many forebrain areas, including the neocortex, hippocampus, and striatum. This distal axotomy is accompanied by changes in emotionality, anxiety, and cognitive function in the treated animals. Neuropsychological and neuroimaging studies of heavy MDMA users suggest that humans may likewise be vulnerable to MDMA-induced serotonergic neurotoxicity; however, such a conclusion is still tentative at this time due to confounding experimental factors in many of these studies.

My laboratory is particularly interested in the consequences of MDMA exposure at different stages of development. For example, we have shown that treatment of newborn rat pups (a model of human drug exposure during the third trimester of pregnancy) with MDMA for just 4 days causes an immediate increase in apoptotic cell death in non-serotonergic neurons within the forebrain, as well as a long-term reorganization of the forebrain serotonergic innervation (Meyer et al., 2004, International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience).

Interestingly, this treatment paradigm also causes enhanced sensitivity to an MDMA challenge given in adulthood (Piper and Meyer, in press, Neurotoxicology and Teratology). Much of our current work is based on the fact that users often begin taking MDMA during adolescence, and they commonly take the drug on weekends at dances or other social events. Consequently, we have developed a novel rat model of intermittent adolescent MDMA exposure and have begun to investigate the neural and behavioral effects of such exposure. Our first study demonstrated that rats given MDMA repeatedly during adolescence showed a later reduction in anxiety-like behavior and a deficit in working memory (Piper and Meyer, 2004, Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior). More recently, we showed that adolescent MDMA exposure completely protects animals from the neurotoxic and behavioral effects of a subsequent high dose of MDMA (Piper et al., submitted for publication). Some of the current projects in the lab are aimed at following up these findings by determining whether adolescent MDMA treatment alters the metabolism of the drug or affects brain enzyme systems that would be expected to counteract MDMA’s neurotoxic actions. We are also interested in the influence of adolescent MDMA exposure on the expression and sensitivity of serotonergic receptors, particularly the 5-HT1A and 5-HT2A receptors. To accomplish these aims, we use a variety of methodological approaches, including behavioral tests (e.g., elevated plus-maze, object recognition memory test, forced swim test, social interaction test), immunocytochemistry for the serotonin transporter (to visualize serotonergic fibers) and for immediate-early genes (to determine the effects of MDMA on signal transduction mechanisms), radioligand binding (e.g., for serotonin receptor measurements), Western blotting (e.g., for quantification of serotonin transporter protein expression), and HPLC for measurement of plasma and brain MDMA and its bioactive metabolite MDA.

These are the recent papers by him listed on the site:

Recent Publications:

Lutz, C., Marinus, L., Chase, W., Meyer, J., & Novak, M. Self-injurious behavior in male rhesus macaques does not reflect externally-directed aggression. Physiology and Behavior 78: 33-39 (2003).

Tiefenbacher, S., Davenport, M. D., Novak, M. A., Pouliot, A. L., & Meyer, J. S. Fenfluramine challenge, self-injurious behavior, and aggression in rhesus monkeys. Physiology and Behavior 80: 327-331 (2003).

Tiefenbacher, S., Novak, M. A., Marinus, L. M., Chase, W. K., Miller, J. A., & Meyer, J. S. Altered hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical function in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) with self-injurious behavior. Psychoneuroendocrinology 29: 501-515 (2004).

Lutz, C., Tiefenbacher, S., Meyer, J., & Novak, M. Extinction deficits in male rhesus monkeys with a history of self-injurious behavior. American Journal of Primatology 63: 41-48 (2004).

Meyer, J. S., Grande, M., Johnson, K., & Ali, S. F. Neurotoxic effects of MDMA (“Ecstasy”) administration to neonatal rats. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience 22: 261-271 (2004) (invited paper for special issue on Developmental Aspects of Addiction).

Piper, B. J., & Meyer, J. S. Memory deficit and reduced anxiety in young adult rats given repeated intermittent MDMA treatment during the periadolescent period. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior 79: 723-731 (2004).

Meyer, J. S., & Quenzer, L. F. Psychopharmacology: Drugs, the Brain, and Behavior. Sinauer Associates: Sunderland, MA, (2004) (textbook).

Tiefenbacher, S., Novak, M. A., Lutz, C. C., & Meyer, J. S. The physiology and neurochemistry of self-injurious behavior: a nonhuman primate model. Frontiers in Bioscience 10: 1-11 (2005) (invited review article for special issue on Primate Models of Psychopathology).

Tiefenbacher, S., Fahey, M. A., Rowlett, J. K., Meyer, J. S., Pouliot, A. L, Jones, B. M., and Novak, M. A. The efficacy of diazepam treatment for the management of acute wounding episodes in captive rhesus macaques. Comparative Medicine 55: 387-392 (2005).

Piper, B. J., Fraiman, J. B., & Meyer, J. S. Repeated MDMA (“Ecstasy”) exposure in
adolescent male rats alters temperature regulation, spontaneous motor activity, attention, and serotonin transporter levels. Developmental Psychobiology 47: 145-157 (2005).

Piper, B. J., & Meyer, J. S. Increased responsiveness to MDMA in adult rats treated neonatally with MDMA. Neurotoxicology and Teratology in press (2005).

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