The recreational use of synthetic cathinones has grown rapidly which prompted concerns from legal authorities and health care providers. However, in response to legislative regulations, synthesis of novel synthetic cathinones by introducing substituents in cathinone molecule has dramatically increased the diversity of these substances. Based on current trends, the aromatic ring is one of the popular sites in cathinone molecule being explored by designer-type modifications. In this study, we designed and synthesized a novel synthetic cathinone, 2-(methylamino)-1-(naphthalen-2-y1) propan-l-one (BMAPN), which has a naphthalene substituent on the aromatic ring. Thereafter, we determined whether BMAPN has rewarding and reinforcing effects through the conditioned place preference (CPP) test in mice and self-administration (SA) paradigm in rats. Locomotor sensitization was also assessed in mice during daily BMAPN treatment for 7 days and drug challenge. Furthermore, we investigated the effects on BMAPN on dopamine-related genes in the striatum of mice using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). BMAPN induced CPP at 10 and 30 mg/kg and was modestly self-administered at 0.3 mg/kg/infusion. Repeated BMAPN (30 mg/kg) administration also produced locomotor sensitization. qRT-PCR analyses revealed decreased dopamine transporter and increased dopamine receptor D2 gene expression in the striatum of the BMAPN-treated mice. These data indicate that BMAPN has rewarding and reinforcing properties, which might be due to its effects on dopamine-related genes. The present study suggests that these findings may be useful in predicting abuse potential of future cathinone entities with aromatic ring substitutions.
Synthetic cathinones; Conditioned place preference; Self-administration; Locomotor sensitization; Abuse potential
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