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Severe aggression in rats induced by mescaline but not other hallucinogens


Pairs of male Sprague-Dawley rats were administered mescaline, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), psilocin, N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), 3,4-dimethoxyphenylethylamine (DMPEA), or 5-hydroxydopamine (5-OHDA) IP prior to being placed in a shock-elicited aggression situation. When foot shock was delivered, controls struck each other with their forepaws, but never engaged in either biting or injurious fighting. Mescaline-treated rats (50 or 250 mg) rarely struck each other, but engaged in nearly lethal biting. While LSD (25–400 μg/kg), psilocin (2.0 mg/kg), and DMT (5 mg/kg) produced some biting, this did not significantly differ from controls and never resulted in injuries. At higher doses, psilocin, DMT, and DMPEA decreased the amount and intensity of fighting. Rats treated with 5-OHDA (8–200 mg/kg) or LSD (25–400 μg/kg) did not differ from controls. These results suggest that mescaline's ability to induce pathological aggression in rats exposed to foot shock is not shared by other hallucinogens or nonhallucinogenic mescaline analogues.

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Correspondence to Robert J. Sbordone.

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Sbordone, R.J., Wingard, J.A., Gorelick, D.A. et al. Severe aggression in rats induced by mescaline but not other hallucinogens. Psychopharmacology 66, 275–280 (1979). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00428319

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Key words

  • Mescaline
  • Hallucinogens
  • 3,4-Dimethoxyphenylethylamine
  • 5-hydroxydopamine
  • Shock-elicited aggression
  • Rats