Date of Award

6-2015

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Lisa E. Baker

Second Advisor

Dr. Alan D. Poling

Third Advisor

Dr. Bradley E. Huitema

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

Recent reports on the abuse of novel synthetic cathinone derivatives call attention to serious public health risks of these substances. In response to this concern, a growing body of preclinical research has characterized the psychopharmacology of these substances, particularly mephedrone (MEPH) or methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), noting their similarities to MDMA and cocaine. The present study employed drug discrimination methodology to assess the discriminative stimulus effects of MEPH and MDPV in male Sprague-Dawley rats trained to discriminate 1.5 mg/kg 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) or a mixture of 1.5 mg/kg MDMA and 0.5 mg/kg d-amphetamine (MDMA+AMPH). After establishing dose response functions with each training drug, MDPV (0.25-2.0 mg/kg), mephedrone (0.25-2.0 mg/kg), and cocaine were evaluated for substitution. Dose response curves generated with MDMA and MEPH were comparable between training groups. In contrast, AMPH, MDPV, and cocaine produced only partial substitution in animals trained to discriminate MDMA but produced full substitution in animals trained to discriminate the MDMA+AMPH mixture. These findings indicate MDPV’s effects may be more similar to those of traditional psychostimulants, whereas MEPH exerts stimulus effects more similar to those of MDMA.

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