Keli A. Herr

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Lisa E. Baker

Second Advisor

Dr. Alan D. Poling

Third Advisor

Dr. Heather M. McGee


Sex differences, adolescents, MDMA, place preference, drug abuse

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


MDMA, ("Ecstasy") is commonly abused in combination with ethanol (EtOH). Relatively few preclinical studies have investigated sex differences in animal models of polysubstance use. The current study employed a conditioned place preference (CPP) procedure to assess the behavioral effects of the co-administration ofMDMA /EtOH in 32 male and 32 female adolescent Sprague-Dawley rats. Following a 15 min habituation trial, eight 30-min conditioning trials were conducted in two- compartment chambers with different environmental cues. Before each drug conditioning trials, rats were administered intraperitoneal (i.p.) injections of MDMA(6.6 mg/kg), EtOH (1.5 g/kg), MDMA (6.6 mg/kg) and EtOH (1.5 g/kg), or saline. Prior to vehicle conditioning trials, all rats received i.p. saline injections. Place preference was measured by recording time spent in each compartment during a 15 min test session. In both males and females, the hyperlocomotor effects ofMDMA and the EtOH/MDMA combination increased with repeated exposure over the course of four conditioning trials. However, there was no evidence for CPP in any treatment group or in either sex. Further research is suggested to determine the influence of age and sex on the abuse liability ofMDMA in combination with ethanol and other drugs of abuse.