Forensic Toxicology

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 66–76 | Cite as

Changes in dopamine, serotonin and their metabolites in brain microdialysates from rats following exposure to new psychoactive drugs

  • Minjeong Kim
  • Da Hye Kim
  • Yong Sup Lee
  • Choon-Gon Jang
  • Chae Ha Yang
  • Sooyeun LeeEmail author
Original Article


New psychoactive drugs (NPDs), or so-called “designer drugs” are chemically transformed compounds of traditional drugs of abuse for the purpose of evading crackdown. The abuse of NPDs is a significant social problem and threatens public health; however, few studies on their effects on the central nervous system have been conducted. Microdialysis is a useful in vivo sampling technique in neurochemistry because it enables monitoring of synaptic release of neurotransmitters by drug exposure or other stimuli in real time. Dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT) are important neurotransmitters associated with drug abuse and addiction. In this study, changes of DA, 5-HT and their metabolites in brain microdialysates from rats following exposure to selected 11 NPDs (MPA, 5-APDB, PCA, α-PVT, AB-PINACA, QUPIC, 5-fluoropentyl-3-pyridinoylindole, AMT, NMT, 4-OH-DET and desoxy-D2PM, 0.3, 1 and 3 mg/kg, consecutively, intraperitoneally) were investigated using a validated liquid chromatography –tandem mass spectrometry method. Most NPDs affected the extracellular levels of DA, 5-HT and/or their metabolites, showing consistent changes depending on the groups of chemical structures, such as amphetamines, synthetic cannabinoids and tryptamines. Significant DA and/or 5-HT increases were observed for all the amphetamine analogues. Weak fluctuations of DA and/or 5-HT concentrations were observed following exposure to synthetic cannabinoids and more severe fluctuations were shown by the tryptamines. The current results could be used as the preliminary data for further research concerning monoamine neurotransmitter-related mechanisms of NPDs. Moreover, the understanding gained from this research could be helpful to monitor the liability of NPD abuse and addiction.


New psychoactive drugs Synthetic cannabinoids Dopamine Serotonin Microdialysis LC–MS/MS 



This research was supported by a grant from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (14182MFDS979) and by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (NRF-2014R1A1A1036222).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors. All experiments were carried out in accordance with the guidelines of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee at Daegu Haany University.


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Copyright information

© Japanese Association of Forensic Toxicology and Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Minjeong Kim
    • 1
  • Da Hye Kim
    • 2
  • Yong Sup Lee
    • 3
  • Choon-Gon Jang
    • 4
  • Chae Ha Yang
    • 2
  • Sooyeun Lee
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.College of PharmacyKeimyung UniversityDaeguRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.College of Oriental MedicineDaegu Haany UniversityDaeguRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Department of Life and Nanopharmaceutical Sciences and Medicinal Chemistry Laboratory, Department of Pharmacy, College of PharmacyKyung Hee UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.School of PharmacySungkyunkwan UniversitySuwonRepublic of Korea

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