Evaluation of training dose in male Sprague-Dawley rats trained to discriminate 4-methylmethcathinone.Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2017 Nov; 234(21):3271-3278.P
Although the synthetic cathinone 4-methylmethcathinone (4-MMC, mephedrone) has been a subject of intensive research investigation, the pharmacological mechanisms involved in its interoceptive stimulus effects have yet to be fully characterized.
The present study employed drug discrimination methods in rats to compare the interoceptive stimulus properties of two different training doses of 4-MMC to other substances with similar pharmacological actions.
Sixteen male Sprague-Dawley rats were trained to discriminate either 1.0 mg/kg (N = 8) or 3.0 mg/kg (N = 8) 4-MMC from saline. Substitution tests were conducted with drugs that increase extracellular monoamine levels (d-amphetamine, (+)-methamphetamine, 4-MMC, MDMA, MDPV, and (-)-cocaine), a serotonin releaser (+)-fenfluramine, and a serotonergic (5-HT2A) hallucinogen (+)-LSD.
Stimulus control was established in fewer sessions in the subjects trained with 3.0 mg/kg compared to those trained with 1.0 mg/kg 4-MMC. Cocaine, MDMA, and d-amphetamine produced full substitution in the 1.0 mg/kg 4-MMC-trained rats at doses that did not decrease response rate. However, doses of test drugs that engendered > 80% 4-MMC-lever selection concurrently produced rate-decreasing effects in rats trained to discriminate 3.0 mg/kg 4-MMC.
These findings further characterize the interoceptive stimulus effects of 4-MMC and indicate that these effects vary little with training dose; however, qualitative differences in substitutability of test drugs were observed between training groups. This study expands existing knowledge regarding the psychopharmacology of 4-MMC and the potential neurochemical substrates contributing to its subjective effects.