, Volume 196, Issue 1, pp 63–70 | Cite as

Effects of ambient temperature on the relative reinforcing strength of MDMA using a choice procedure in monkeys

  • Matthew L. Banks
  • Jon E. Sprague
  • Paul W. Czoty
  • Michael A. Nader
Original Investigation



3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy) is frequently used in hot environments, such as rave parties. Studies in laboratory animals have shown that ambient temperature can alter the behavioral and neurochemical effects of MDMA.


To examine the influence of ambient temperature on the relative reinforcing strength of MDMA and reinstatement of behavior previously maintained by MDMA is the objective of the study.


The effects of cool (18°C), room (24°C), and warm (31°C) temperatures were examined when MDMA was available under a concurrent fixed-ratio 30 schedule of MDMA (saline, 0.03–0.3 mg/kg/injection) and food choice in rhesus monkeys (n = 5). During saline substitutions, the effect of noncontingent MDMA (0.03–0.3 mg/kg) on response allocation was examined at each ambient temperature.


At room temperature, MDMA choice increased as a function of dose, such that food was preferred over a low MDMA dose (0.03 mg/kg/injection), whereas higher doses were preferred over food. Elevating the ambient temperature significantly increased the relative reinforcing strength of 0.03 mg/kg/injection MDMA, and lowering the ambient temperature significantly attenuated the choice of 0.1 mg/kg/injection MDMA. Noncontingent injections of MDMA administered before a session in which saline was the alternative to food dose-dependently increased injection-lever responding; this effect was not influenced by ambient temperature.


These results suggest that ambient temperature can affect the relative reinforcing strength of MDMA, but not MDMA-induced reinstatement. Furthermore, these results suggest environmental strategies for decreasing the reinforcing strength of MDMA.


Ambient Temperature Drug Choice MDMA Reinstatement Rhesus monkey Self-Administration 



We appreciate the insightful comments and statistical assistance of Linda Porrino and Beth Reboussin. This research was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse grants DA-06634 (MAN) and DA-020281 (MLB).


  1. Banks ML, Czoty PW, Nader MA (2007a) The influence of reinforcing effects of cocaine on cocaine-induced increases in extinguished responding in cynomolgus monkeys. Psychopharmacology 192:449–456PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Banks ML, Sprague JE, Kisor DF, Czoty PW, Nichols DE, Nader MA (2007b) Ambient temperature effects on 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)-induced thermodysregulation and pharmacokinetics in male monkeys. Drug Metab Disp 35(10) (in press).
  3. Beardsley PM, Balster RL, Harris LS (1986) Self-administration of methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) by rhesus monkeys. Drug Alcohol Depend 18:149–157PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bedi G, Redman J (2006) Recreational ecstasy use: acute effects potentiated by ambient conditions? Neuropsychobiology 53:113PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cador M, Isingrini E, Keiflin R (2006) Systemic cocaine can reinstate an instrumental response not directed towards cocaine but previously performed under cocaine. Soc Neurosci Abstract 189.12Google Scholar
  6. Cornish JL, Shahnawaz Z, Thompson MR, Wong S, Morley KC, Hunt GE, McGregor IS (2003) Heat increases 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine self-administration and social effects in rats. Eur J Pharmacol 482:339–341PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Czoty PW, McCabe C, Nader MA (2005) Assessment of the relative reinforcing strength of cocaine in socially housed monkeys using a choice procedure. J Pharmcol Exp Ther 312:96–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Daza-Losada M, Ribeiro Do Couto B, Manzanedo C, Aguilar MA, Rodriguez-Arias M, Minarro J (2007) Rewarding effects and reinstatement of MDMA-induced CPP in adolescent mice. Neuropsychopharmacology 32:1750–1759PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Di Chiara G, Imperato A (1988) Drugs abuse by humans preferentially increase synaptic dopamine concentrations in the mesolimbic system in freely moving rats. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 85:5274–5278PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fantegrossi WE, Ullrich T, Rice KC, Woods JH, Winger G (2002) 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, “ecstasy”) and its stereoisomers as reinforcers in rhesus monkeys: serotonergic involvement. Psychopharmacology 161:356–364PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Freedman RR, Johansen CE, Tancer ME (2005) Thermoregulatory effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) in humans. Psychopharmacology 183:248–256PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gasior M, Paronis CA, Bergman J (2004) Modification by dopaminergic drugs of choice behavior under concurrent schedules of intravenous saline and food delivery in monkeys. J Pharmacol Exper Ther 308:249–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gordon CJ, Watkinson WP, O’Callaghan JP, Miller DB (1991) Effect of 3,4-methyleneidoxymethamphetamine on the autonomic thermoregulatory responses of the rat. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 38:339–344PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Higgins ST (1997) The influence of alternative reinforcers on cocaine use and abuse: a brief review. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 57:419–427PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Irvine RJ, Keane M, Felgate P, McCann UD, Callaghan PD, White JM (2006) Plasma drug concentrations and physiological measures in ‘dance party’ participants. Neuropsychopharmacology 31: 424–430PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Johnston LD, O’Malley PM, Bachman JG, Schulenberg JE (2006). Monitoring the future national survey results on drug use, 1975–2005: Volume II, College students and adults ages 19–45 (NIH Publication No. 06-5884). National Institute on Drug Abuse, Bethesda, MDGoogle Scholar
  17. Katz JL (1990) Models of relative reinforcing efficacy of drugs and their predictive utility. Behav Pharmacol 1:283–301PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Kraly FS, Blass EM (1976) Mechanisms for enhanced feeding in the cold in rats. J Comp Physiol Psychol 90:714–726PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lamb RJ, Griffiths RR (1987) Self-injection of d, l-3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) in the baboon. Psychopharmacology 91:268–272PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lile JA, Ross JT, Nader MA (2005) A comparison of the reinforcing efficacy of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, “ecstasy”) with cocaine in rhesus monkeys. Drug Alcohol Depend 78:135–140PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Malberg JE, Seiden LS (1998) Small changes in ambient temperature cause large changes in 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)-induced serotonin neurotoxicity and core body temperature in the rat. J Neurosci 18:5086–5094PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Martelle JL, Claytor R, Grundt P, Ross J, Newman AH, Nader MA (2007) Effects of two novel D3-selective compounds, NGB 2904 and CJB 090, on the reinforcing and discriminative stimulus effects of cocaine in rhesus monkeys. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 321:573–582PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Morgan D, Nader MA (2000) Acquisition of intravenous cocaine self-administration with concurrent access to food in cynomolgus monkeys. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol 8:554–565PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Morley KC, Cornish JL, Li KM, McGregor IS (2004) Preexposure to MDMA (“Ecstasy”) delays acquisition but facilitates MDMA-induced reinstatement of amphetamine self-administration behavior in rats. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 79:331–342PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Negus SS (2003) Rapid assessment of choice between cocaine and food in rhesus monkeys: effects of environmental manipulations and treatment with d-amphetamine and flupenthixol. Neuropsychopharmacology 28:919–931PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Odum AL, Shahan TA (2004) d-amphetamine reinstates behavior previously maintained by food: importance of context. Behav Pharmacol 15:513–516PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. O’Shea E, Escobedo I, Orio L, Sanchez V, Navarro M, Green AR, Colado MI (2005) Elevation of ambient room temperature has differential effects on MDMA-induced 5-HT and dopamine release in striatum and nucleus accumbens of rats. Neuropsychopharmacology 30:1312–1323PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Paronis CA, Gasior M, Bergman J (2002) Effects of cocaine under concurrent fixed ratio schedules of food and IV drug availability: a novel choice procedure in monkeys. Psychopharmacology 163:283–291PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Parrott AC (2004) MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine) or ecstasy: The neuropsychobiological implications of taking it at dances and raves. Neuropsychobiology 50:329–335PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schwartz RH, Miller NS (1997) MDMA (ecstasy) and the rave: a review. Pediatrics 100:705–708PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Shaham Y, Shalev U, Lu L, De Wit H, Stewart J (2003) The reinstatement model of drug relapse: history, methodology and major findings. Psychopharmacology 168:3–20PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sprague JE, Everman SL, Nichols DE (1998) An integrated hypothesis for the serotonergic axonal loss induced by 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine. Neurotoxicology 19:427–441PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Von Huben SN, Lay CC, Crean RD, Davis SA, Katner SN, Taffe MA (2007) Impact of ambient temperature on hyperthermia induced by (±)3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine in Rhesus macaques. Neuropsychopharmacology 32:673–681CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wang Z, Woolverton WL (2007) Estimating the relative reinforcing strength of (±)-3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and its isomers in rhesus monkeys: comparison to (−)-methamphetamine. Psychopharmacology 189:483–488PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Weir E (2000) Raves: a review of the culture, the drugs and the prevention of harm. CMAJ 162:1843–1848PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Woolverton WL, Nader MA (1990) Experimental evaluation of the reinforcing effects of drugs, in Modern Methods in Pharmacology. Volume 6: Testing and Evaluation of Drugs of Abuse (Adler MW and Cowan A eds) pp 165–192, Wiles-Liss, Inc., New York, NYGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew L. Banks
    • 1
    • 4
  • Jon E. Sprague
    • 2
  • Paul W. Czoty
    • 1
  • Michael A. Nader
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Physiology and PharmacologyWake Forest University School of MedicineWinston-SalemUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, Raabe College of PharmacyOhio Northern UniversityAdaUSA
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyWake Forest University School of MedicineWinston-SalemUSA
  4. 4.Division of Neuroscience, Yerkes National Primate Research CenterEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA

Personalised recommendations