Effects of dopaminergic and serotonergic compounds in rats trained to discriminate a high and a low training dose of the synthetic cathinone mephedrone.Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2019 Mar; 236(3):1015-1029.P
The underlying pharmacological mechanisms of mephedrone, especially as related to interactions with different neurotransmitter systems, are a critical area of study as mephedrone continues to be abused.
Direct-acting 5-HT2A/2C receptor agonists and antagonists and D1-3 receptor antagonists were examined in two groups of rats trained to discriminate mephedrone. A high dose of mephedrone was trained to extend previous results with traditional monoamine transporter inhibitors and substrate releasers. A very low dose of mephedrone was trained to preferentially capture serotonergic activity and to minimize the influence of rate-decreasing effects on substitution patterns. Selective 5-HT2A/2C and D1-3 receptor antagonists were examined in both groups.
Male Sprague-Dawley rats were trained to discriminate either a low dose of 0.5 mg/kg mephedrone (N = 24) or a high dose of 3.2 mg/kg mephedrone (N = 11) from saline.
In the low training-dose group, mephedrone, MDMA, methamphetamine, d-amphetamine, cocaine, and enantiomers of mephedrone substituted for mephedrone; mCPP partially substituted overall for mephedrone; and DOI, WAY163909, and morphine failed to substitute for mephedrone. In the high training-dose group, only mephedrone and MDMA substituted for mephedrone. Sulpiride produced a small antagonism of the low training dose of mephedrone while SCH23390, SB242084, and ketanserin altered response rates.
A lower training dose of mephedrone produces a discriminative stimulus fully mimicked by MDMA, methamphetamine, cocaine, and d-amphetamine, whereas a higher training dose of mephedrone requires a discriminative stimulus that was only mimicked by MDMA. Dopaminergic or serotoninergic antagonists failed to produce significant blockade of mephedrone at either training dose.