Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Lisa Baker

Second Advisor

Dr. Cynthia J. Pietras

Third Advisor

Dr. Ron Van Houten


Drug discrimination; 3, 4-methylenedioxyprovalerone; MPDV; synthetic cathinones; behavioral pharmacology

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


3,4-Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) is a popular synthetic cathinone reported to have a high abuse potential and comparable pharmacological actions to those of cocaine. The aim of this study was to evaluate a variety of monoaminergic agents for substitution, potentiation, or antagonism in rats trained to discriminate MDPV. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were trained to discriminate 0.5 mg/kg MDPV and a variety of monoaminergic drugs were tested for substitution and/or potentiation of the MDPV cue. In separate experiments, stimulus antagonism tests were conducted with selected dopamine antagonists or serotonin antagonists in rats trained to discriminate 1 mg/kg MDPV. Full substitution for MDPV was observed with cocaine, (±)-MDMA, (+)-MDMA and (±)-MDA; (+)-MDA produced significant partial substitution, whereas (-)-MDMA or (-)-MDA did not substitute. Although neither GBR 12909 nor desipramine substituted for MDPV, these substances potentiated MDPV discrimination. Sch 23390 and haloperidol both dose-dependently attenuated MDPV discrimination, whereas none of the 5-HT antagonists tested altered MDPV discrimination. These findings indicate MDPV’s interoceptive stimulus effects are mediated predominantly by dopaminergic actions, although serotonergic and/or noradrenergic modulation of these effects cannot be ruled out. Further investigations into the precise neurochemical actions responsible for MDPV discrimination may serve to inform medication discovery and development for the treatment of MDPV abuse.