Psychopharmacology

, Volume 232, Issue 16, pp 3045–3055

In vivo potency and efficacy of the novel cathinone α-pyrrolidinopentiophenone and 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone: self-administration and locomotor stimulation in male rats

  • Shawn M. Aarde
  • Kevin M. Creehan
  • Sophia A. Vandewater
  • Tobin J. Dickerson
  • Michael A. Taffe
Original Investigation

Abstract

Rationale

Numerous substituted cathinone drugs have appeared in recreational use. This variety is often a response to legal actions; the scheduling of 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV; “bath salts”) in the USA was followed by the appearance of the closely related drug α-pyrrolidinopentiophenone (alpha-PVP; “flakka”).

Objectives

This study aimed to directly compare the efficacy and potency of alpha-PVP with that of MDPV.

Methods

Groups of male Wistar rats were trained in the intravenous self-administration (IVSA) alpha-PVP or MDPV under a fixed-ratio 1 schedule of reinforcement. An additional group was examined for locomotor and body temperature responses to noncontingent administration of MDVP or alpha-PVP (1.0, 5.6, and 10.0 mg/kg, i.p.).

Results

Acquisition of alpha-PVP (0.1 mg/kg/infusion) IVSA resulted in low, yet consistent drug intake and excellent discrimination for the drug-paired lever. Dose substitution (0.05–0.25 mg/kg/infusion) under a fixed-ratio 1 schedule confirmed potency was similar to MDPV in prior studies. In direct comparison to MDPV (0.05 mg/kg/infusion), rats trained on alpha-PVP (0.05 mg/kg/infusion) responded for more infusions but demonstrated similar drug-lever discrimination by the end of acquisition. However, the dose–response (0.018–0.56 mg/kg/infusion) functions of these drugs under a progressive-ratio schedule of reinforcement reflected identical efficacy and potency. Peak locomotor responses to MDPV or alpha-PVP were observed after the 1.0 mg/kg, i.p. dose and lasted ∼2 h. Modest body temperature decreases were of similar magnitude (∼0.75 °C) for each compound.

Conclusions

The potency and efficacy of MDPV and alpha-PVP were very similar across multiple assays, predicting that the abuse liability of alpha-PVP will be significant and similar to that of MDPV.

Keywords

Stimulants Substance abuse Bath salts Self-administration Cathinone Reward 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shawn M. Aarde
    • 1
  • Kevin M. Creehan
    • 1
  • Sophia A. Vandewater
    • 1
  • Tobin J. Dickerson
    • 2
  • Michael A. Taffe
    • 1
  1. 1.Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive DisordersThe Scripps Research InstituteLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryThe Scripps Research InstituteLa JollaUSA

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