Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Lisa Baker

Second Advisor

Dr. Ron Van Houten

Third Advisor

Dr. Al Poling


α-pyrrolidinovalerophenone, 3, 4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone, drug discrimination, synthetic cathinone, sex differences

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Recreational use of synthetic cathinones, 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and α‐pyrrolidinovalerophenone (α‐PVP), has become increasingly popular, thus prompting characterization of their behavioral and neurochemical effects. MDPV has been studied for several years now, though there is still much unknown about α‐PVP, and its isomers. The primary objective of this study was to characterize the discriminative effects of α‐PVP and its isomers in comparison to MDPV. Male and female Sprague-Dawley rats were trained to discriminate 0.5mg/kg MDPV from saline injections under a fixed ratio 20 (FR 20) schedule of food reinforcement. Substitution tests were conducted with MDPV (0.05-0.5mg/kg), α‐PVP (0.05-0.5mg/kg), (S)-α‐PVP (0.05-1mg/kg) and (R)-α‐PVP (0.05-10mg/kg). All substances produced a dose-dependent increase in MDPV-lever responses and dose response curves were similar between males and females. Full substitution was observed in females at the highest dose of all test compounds and all except (R)-α‐PVP in males. These results illustrate that α‐PVP, and its isomers produce similar discriminative effects to those of MDPV with few differences between males and females. Although the current findings add to the established psychopharmacology of α‐PVP further investigations into its precise mechanisms of action are critical to advancing medical treatments for substance abuse disorders involving this and related synthetic cathinones.