In vivo potency and efficacy of the novel cathinone α-pyrrolidinopentiophenone and 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone: self-administration and locomotor stimulation in male rats
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- Aarde, S.M., Creehan, K.M., Vandewater, S.A. et al. Psychopharmacology (2015) 232: 3045. doi:10.1007/s00213-015-3944-8
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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”).
This study aimed to directly compare the efficacy and potency of alpha-PVP with that of MDPV.
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.).
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.
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.