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

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Summary.

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.

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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). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00702-005-0356-7

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