Sensitization to the locomotor stimulant effects of "bath salt" constituents, 4-methylmethcathinone (4-MMC) and 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), in male Sprague-Dawley rats.Drug Alcohol Depend. 2016 Jul 01; 164:128-134.DA
Synthetic cathinones, 4-methylmethcathinone (4-MMC) and 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), serve as a substrate or blocker at monoaminergic transporters, respectively, and produce locomotor stimulant effects in rodents. The present study investigated in rats the effects of repeated exposure to 4-MMC, MDPV, or mixtures of the two on the induction of locomotor sensitization and expression of cross-sensitization to cocaine.
Seventy-two male Sprague-Dawley rats received daily intraperitoneal injections of saline, MDPV (0.5mg/kg), 4-MMC (0.5, 1.0, or 2.0mg/kg) or mixtures of 0.5mg/kg MDPV+4-MMC (0.5, 1.0, or 2.0mg/kg) for seven consecutive days. Locomotor activity was recorded on days 1 and 7 and again after an acute injection of 5mg/kg cocaine following a 10day drug washout period.
Rats injected with 0.5mg/kg MDPV, 0.5, 1.0, or 2.0mg/kg 4-MMC, or 2.0mg/kg 4-MMC+0.5mg/kg MDPV displayed time-dependent increases in horizontal activity that were augmented on day 7 compared to day 1. In addition, rats pretreated with 0.5mg/kg MDPV, 2.0mg/kg 4-MMC, or mixtures of 4-MMC+MDPV displayed an enhanced response to cocaine.
Locomotor responses sensitize to MDPV and to certain mixtures of MDPV and 4-MMC following repeated dosing. Furthermore, previous exposure to these substances may produce cross-sensitization to the locomotor stimulant effects of cocaine. Considered together with recent findings that 4-MMC and MDPV have different sites of action, but both influence monoaminergic functioning, further investigations utilizing a variety of behavioral assays may prove informative regarding the abuse liability of synthetic cathinone mixtures.