Repeated Catha edulis oral administration enhances the baseline aggressive behavior in isolated rats

  • 116 Accesses

  • 25 Citations


The effects of repeated oral administration of the psychostimulant plant, Catha edulis and its active principle, cathinone on rats were studied using isolation induced aggression paradigm. The behavioral responses were videotaped and scored later by offline data analyses. Rats were decapitated at the end of the behavioral experiment and in the relevant brain regions, monoamines were assessed. The results demonstrate that isolation of male rats produces a baseline aggression. Treatments with the psychostimulant plant, Catha edulis or commercial S-(−)-cathinone enhanced significantly: The locomotor activities and the baseline aggression behaviors compared with vehicle treated rats. Neurochemical correlates revealed a significant depletion of serotonin (5-HT) and its corresponding metabolites (5-HIAA) in both the anterior and posterior striatum. There was also a reduction in the level of homovanillic acid (HVA) in the hippocampus. Additionally, elevation of dopamine level was observed in the nucleus accumbens, especially, in those rats treated with Catha edulis extract. Cathinone, on the other hand, increased the level of HVA in the posterior striatum and decreased HVA in the nucleus accumbens. In conclusion, the present data demonstrate that repeated administration of Catha edulis or S-(−)-cathinone enhances aggression in rats, presumably by decreasing the level of serotonin and its corresponding metabolites. Besides, the data obtained do not rule out the involvement of dopamine in aggression behavior.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

We’re sorry, something doesn't seem to be working properly.

Please try refreshing the page. If that doesn't work, please contact support so we can address the problem.


  1. A Alem T Shibre (1997) ArticleTitleKhat induced psychosis and its medico-legal implication: a case report Ethiop Med J 35 137–139 Occurrence Handle9577014 Occurrence Handle1:STN:280:DyaK1c3jslyltg%3D%3D

  2. M Awas D Kebede A Alem (1999) ArticleTitleMajor mental disorders in Butajira, southern Ethiopia Acta Psychiatr Scand [Suppl] 397 56–64 Occurrence Handle1:STN:280:DyaK1MzpvFeksw%3D%3D

  3. MY Banjaw WJ Schmidt (2005) ArticleTitleBehavioral sensitization following repeated intermittent oral administration of Catha edulis in rats Behav Brain Res 156 181–189 Occurrence Handle10.1016/j.bbr.2004.05.020 Occurrence Handle15582104 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DC%2BD2cXhtVCktLfO

  4. SL Bowling MT Bardo (1994) ArticleTitleLocomotor and rewarding effects of amphetamine in enriched, social, and isolate reared rats Pharmacol Biochem Behav 48 459–464 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0091-3057(94)90553-3 Occurrence Handle8090815 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaK2cXksV2qsbY%3D

  5. AE Boyle K Gill BR Smith Z Amit (1991) ArticleTitleDifferential effects of an early housing manipulation on cocaine-induced activity and self-administration in laboratory rats Pharmacol Biochem Behav 39 269–274 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0091-3057(91)90178-5 Occurrence Handle1946568 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaK3MXlsFSht7c%3D

  6. Brain PF, Benton D (1981) Multidisciplinary approaches to aggression research. Elsevier/North-Holland Biomedical Press, Amsterdam New York Oxford

  7. DJ Calcagnetti MD Schechter (1992a) ArticleTitleIncreases in the locomotor activity of rats after intracerebral administration of cathinone Brain Res 29 843–846 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaK3sXhs1Srurw%3D

  8. DJ Calcagnetti MD Schechter (1992b) ArticleTitlePsychostimulant-induced activity is attenuated by two putative dopamine release inhibitors Pharmacol Biochem Behav 43 1023–1031 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0091-3057(92)90476-V Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaK3sXhs1agsQ%3D%3D

  9. Coccaro EF, Siever LJ (2002) Pathophysiology and treatment of aggression. In: Davis KL, Charney D, Coyle JT, Nemeroff C (eds) Neuropsychopharmacology: the fifth generation of progress. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia

  10. G Cox H Ramps (2003) ArticleTitleAdverse effects of Khat: a review Adv Psychiatr Treatment 9 456–463 Occurrence Handle10.1192/apt.9.6.456

  11. NA Darmani MG Hadfield WH Carter SuffixJr BR Martin (1990) ArticleTitleAcute and chronic effects of cocaine on isolation-induced aggression in mice Psychopharmacology (Berl) 102 37–40 Occurrence Handle10.1007/BF02245741 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaK3cXlt1KmsL8%3D

  12. JH Daruna EW Kent (1976) ArticleTitleComparison of regional serotonin levels and turnover in the brain of naturally high and low aggressive rats Brain Res 101 489–501 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0006-8993(76)90473-X Occurrence Handle942688 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaE28Xnt1Wruw%3D%3D

  13. RA Glennon SM Liebowitz (1982) ArticleTitleSerotonin receptor affinity of cathinone and related analogues J Med Chem 25 393–397 Occurrence Handle10.1021/jm00346a012 Occurrence Handle7069716 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaL38XhtFGmsr4%3D

  14. AL Goerss GC Wagner WL Hill (2000) ArticleTitleAcute effects of aspartame on aggression and neurochemistry of rats Life Sci 67 1325–1329 Occurrence Handle10.1016/S0024-3205(00)00723-2 Occurrence Handle10972201 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DC%2BD3cXlslCgtr8%3D

  15. TL Gordon SM Meehan MD Schechter (1993) ArticleTitleDifferential effects of nicotine but not cathinone on motor activity of P and NP rats Pharmacol Biochem Behav 44 657–659 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0091-3057(93)90182-S Occurrence Handle8451269 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaK3sXhs1ejs7w%3D

  16. FS Hall LS Wilkinson T Humby W Inglis DA Kendall CA Marsden TW Robbins (1998) ArticleTitleIsolation rearing in rats: pre- and postsynaptic changes in striatal dopaminergic systems Pharmacol Biochem Behav 59 859–872 Occurrence Handle10.1016/S0091-3057(97)00510-8 Occurrence Handle9586842 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaK1cXislGrtbY%3D

  17. TG Heffner JA Hartman LS Seiden (1980) ArticleTitleA rapid method for the regional dissection of the rat brain Pharmacol Biochem Behav 13 453–456 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0091-3057(80)90254-3 Occurrence Handle7422701 Occurrence Handle1:STN:280:Bi6D3s3mtlQ%3D

  18. P Kalix (1982) ArticleTitleThe amphetamine-like releasing effect of the alkaloid (−)cathinone on rat nucleus accumbens and rabbit caudate nucleus Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 6 43–49 Occurrence Handle7202229 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaL38Xks1Khtbg%3D

  19. P Kalix (1991) ArticleTitleThe pharmacology of psychoactive alkaloids from Ephedra and Catha J Ethnopharmacol 32 201–208 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0378-8741(91)90119-X Occurrence Handle1881158 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaK3MXlsV2murc%3D

  20. P Kalix O Branden (1985) ArticleTitlePharmacological aspects of the chewing of khat leaves Pharmacol Rev 37 149–164 Occurrence Handle2864707 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaL2MXlvVyqtLc%3D

  21. M Krsiak (1979) ArticleTitleEffects of drugs on behaviour of aggressive mice Br J Pharmacol 65 525–533 Occurrence Handle570866 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaE1MXks1ynsbs%3D

  22. A Leng J Feldon B Ferger (2004) ArticleTitleLong-term social isolation and medial prefrontal cortex: dopaminergic and cholinergic neurotransmission Pharmacol Biochem Behav 77 371–379 Occurrence Handle10.1016/j.pbb.2003.11.011 Occurrence Handle14751467 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DC%2BD2cXnvVOhtw%3D%3D

  23. SF Long MC Wilson KJ Sufka WM Davis (1996) ArticleTitleThe effects of cocaine and nandrolone co-administration on aggression in male rats Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry 20 839–856 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0278-5846(96)00063-2 Occurrence Handle8870068 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaK28Xltlamt7Y%3D

  24. CK Maitai M Dhadphale (1988) ArticleTitleKhat-induced paranoid psychosis Br J Psychiatry 152 294 Occurrence Handle2901888 Occurrence Handle1:STN:280:BiaD3c7mvFY%3D

  25. K Matsumoto B Cai T Satoh H Ohta H Watanabe (1991) ArticleTitleDesipramine enhances isolation-induced aggressive behavior in mice Pharmacol Biochem Behav 39 167–170 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0091-3057(91)90416-Y Occurrence Handle1924499 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaK3MXksVWru7s%3D

  26. GP Mereu C Pacitti A Argiolas (1983) ArticleTitleEffect of (−)-cathinone, a khat leaf constituent, on dopaminergic firing and dopamine metabolism in the rat brain Life Sci 32 1383–1389 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0024-3205(83)90814-7 Occurrence Handle6834994 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaL3sXhtlOmtL8%3D

  27. S Miachon T Rochet B Mathian B Barbagli B Claustrat (1993) ArticleTitleLong-term isolation of Wistar rats alters brain monoamine turnover, blood corticosterone, and ACTH Brain Res Bull 32 611–614 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0361-9230(93)90162-5 Occurrence Handle7693308 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaK2cXntVSrtw%3D%3D

  28. KA Miczek (1974) ArticleTitleIntraspecies aggression in rats: effects of d-amphetamine and chlordiazepoxide Psychopharmacologia 39 275–301 Occurrence Handle10.1007/BF00422968 Occurrence Handle4476082 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaE2MXotVKntQ%3D%3D

  29. KA Miczek (1979) ArticleTitleA new test for aggression in rats without aversive stimulation: differential effects of d-amphetamine and cocaine Psychopharmacology (Berl) 60 253–259 Occurrence Handle10.1007/BF00426664 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaE1MXhs1ahsr0%3D

  30. Miczek KA, Fish EW (2005) Dopamine, glutamate and aggression. In: Schmidt WJ, Reith MEA (eds) Dopamine and glutamate in psychiatric disorders. Humana Press, Totowa, New Jeresey (in press)

  31. KA Miczek M Haney (1994) ArticleTitlePsychomotor stimulant effects of d-amphetamine, MDMA and PCP: aggressive and schedule-controlled behavior in mice Psychopharmacology (Berl) 115 358–365 Occurrence Handle10.1007/BF02245077 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaK2cXlsVyqtb0%3D

  32. KA Miczek JM O’Donnell (1978) ArticleTitleIntruder-evoked aggression in isolated and non isolated mice: effects of psychomotor stimulants and L-dopa Psychopharmacology (Berl) 57 47–55 Occurrence Handle10.1007/BF00426957 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaE1cXktFOjtb0%3D

  33. KA Miczek EW Fish JF De Bold RM De Almeida (2002) ArticleTitleSocial and neural determinants of aggressive behavior: pharmacotherapeutic targets at serotonin, dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid systems Psychopharmacology (Berl) 163 434–458 Occurrence Handle10.1007/s00213-002-1139-6 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DC%2BD38XnsFymu7k%3D

  34. JA Nielsen (1985) ArticleTitleCathinone affects dopamine and 5-hydroxytryptamine neurons in vivo as measured by changes in metabolites and synthesis in four forebrain regions in the rat Neuropharmacology 24 845–852 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0028-3908(85)90035-8 Occurrence Handle2414683 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaL2MXlslWqtbc%3D

  35. M Odenwald F Neuner M Schauer T Elbert C Catani B Lingenfelder H Hinkel H Hafner B Rockstroh (2005) ArticleTitleKhat use as risk factor for psychotic disorders: a cross-sectional and case-control study in Somalia BMC Med 3 5 Occurrence Handle10.1186/1741-7015-3-5 Occurrence Handle15707502

  36. Oliver B, Young LJ (2002) Animal models of aggression. In: Davis KL, Charney D, Coyle JT, Nemeroff C (eds) Neuropsychopharmacology: the fifth generation of progress. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia

  37. EA Pehek MD Schechter BK Yamamoto (1990) ArticleTitleEffects of cathinone and amphetamine on the neurochemistry of dopamine in vivo Neuropharmacology 29 1171–1176 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0028-3908(90)90041-O Occurrence Handle2293059 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaK3MXlsFOitg%3D%3D

  38. O Rilke D Freier M Jahkel J Oehler (1998) ArticleTitleDynamic alterations of serotonergic metabolism and receptors during social isolation of low- and high-active mice Pharmacol Biochem Behav 59 891–896 Occurrence Handle10.1016/S0091-3057(97)00509-1 Occurrence Handle9586845 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaK1cXislGruro%3D

  39. TE Robinson JB Becker (1986) ArticleTitleEnduring changes in brain and behaviour produced by chronic amphetamine administration: a review and evaluation of animal models of amphetamine psychosis Brain Res 11 157–198 Occurrence Handle10.1016/S0006-8993(86)80193-7 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaL28Xlt1Kmurs%3D

  40. RB Rothman N Vu JS Partilla BL Roth SJ Hufeisen BA Compton-Toth J Birkes R Young RA Glennon (2003) ArticleTitleIn vitro characterization of ephedrine-related stereoisomers at biogenic amine transporters and the receptorome reveals selective actions as norepinephrine transporter substrates J Pharmacol Exp Ther 307 138–145 Occurrence Handle10.1124/jpet.103.053975 Occurrence Handle12954796 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DC%2BD3sXnslGktb0%3D

  41. MD Schechter (1990) ArticleTitleDopaminergic nature of acute cathine tolerance Pharmacol Biochem Behav 36 817–820 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0091-3057(90)90083-T Occurrence Handle1977178 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaK3cXlt1Kmsrg%3D

  42. S Schenk T Hunt R Malovechko A Robertson G Klukowski Z Amit (1986) ArticleTitleDifferential effects of isolation housing on the conditioned place preference produced by cocaine and amphetamine Pharmacol Biochem Behav 24 1793–1796 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0091-3057(86)90523-X Occurrence Handle3737645 Occurrence Handle1:STN:280:BimB1cjltlQ%3D

  43. A Siegel TA Roeling TR Gregg MR Kruk (1999) ArticleTitleNeuropharmacology of brain-stimulation-evoked aggression Neurosci Biobehav Rev 23 359–389 Occurrence Handle10.1016/S0149-7634(98)00040-2 Occurrence Handle9989425 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaK1MXhtFylt7c%3D

  44. BP Sokolov CW Schindler JL Cadet (2004) ArticleTitleChronic methamphetamine increases fighting in mice Pharmacol Biochem Behav 77 319–326 Occurrence Handle10.1016/j.pbb.2003.11.006 Occurrence Handle14751460 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DC%2BD2cXnvVOiug%3D%3D

  45. L Valzelli (1967) ArticleTitleDrugs and aggressiveness Adv Pharmacol 5 79–108 Occurrence Handle4864479 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaF1cXksl2mtQ%3D%3D Occurrence Handle10.1016/S1054-3589(08)60655-9

  46. L Valzelli (1978) ArticleTitleHuman and animal studies on the neurophysiology of aggression Prog Neuropsychopharmacol 2 591–610 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0364-7722(78)90008-5 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaE1MXktVaqt7g%3D

  47. SM White RF Kucharik JA Moyer (1991) ArticleTitleEffects of serotonergic agents on isolation-induced aggression Pharmacol Biochem Behav 39 729–736 Occurrence Handle10.1016/0091-3057(91)90155-U Occurrence Handle1686105 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaK3MXlvFygtL4%3D

  48. JL Zelger HX Schorno EA Carkini (1980) ArticleTitleBehavioural effects of cathinone, an amine obtained from Catha edulis forsk: comparisons with amphetamine, norpseudoephedrine, apomorphine and nomifensine Bull Narc 32 67–81 Occurrence Handle6911034 Occurrence Handle1:CAS:528:DyaL3MXktVSntrY%3D

Download references

Author information

Electronic supplementary material

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Banjaw, M., Miczek, K. & Schmidt, W. Repeated Catha edulis oral administration enhances the baseline aggressive behavior in isolated rats. J Neural Transm 113, 543–556 (2006).

Download citation

  • Keywords: Catha edulis, S-(−)-cathinone, aggression, neurotransmitter levels.