Repeated administration of synthetic cathinone 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone persistently increases impulsive choice in rats

Behav Pharmacol. 2019 Oct;30(7):555-565. doi: 10.1097/FBP.0000000000000492.


3,4-Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) is a selective catecholamine reuptake inhibitor abused for its psychostimulant properties. This study examined if MDPV administration alters impulsive choice measured by delay discounting in rats. Three groups of rats were tested in daily delay discounting sessions to determine the effects of acute cocaine (1.0-30.0 mg/kg), MDPV (0.1-3.0 mg/kg), or saline on mean adjusted delay (MAD). Dose-dependent decreases in MAD were elicited only by acute MDPV, which also suppressed operant responding at the highest dose. Next, rats received post-session injections (30.0 mg/kg cocaine, 3.0 mg/kg MDPV, or saline) every other day for a total of 10 injections. MAD increased during saline treatment, did not change during cocaine treatment, and was reduced during MDPV treatment. In dose-effect re-determinations, no acute drug effects on MAD were observed, but compared to the initial dose-effect determination, MDPV suppressed operant responding in more animals, with zero animals completing trials at the highest dose. All saline and MDPV-treated subjects were sacrificed, and striatal and cortical dopamine levels were quantified by HPLC. These studies indicate that administration of MDPV may increase impulsive choice acutely and persistently. These proimpulsive effects are possibly mediated by increases in striatal dopamine turnover.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Benzodioxoles / pharmacology*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology
  • Choice Behavior / drug effects*
  • Cocaine / pharmacology
  • Conditioning, Operant / drug effects
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects
  • Delay Discounting / drug effects
  • Dopamine
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Impulsive Behavior / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Pyrrolidines / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Self Administration
  • Synthetic Cathinone


  • Alkaloids
  • Benzodioxoles
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors
  • Pyrrolidines
  • cathinone
  • Cocaine
  • Dopamine
  • Synthetic Cathinone