Behav Pharmacol 2013 Dec;24(8):684-8
aCenter for Substance Abuse Research bDepartment of Pharmacology, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia cFox Chase Chemical Diversity Center, Doylestown, Pennsylvania, USA.
Concurrent use of mephedrone (4-methylmethcathinone; MEPH) and established drugs of abuse is now commonplace, but knowledge about interactions between these drugs is sparse. The present study was designed to test the hypothesis that prior MEPH exposure enhances the locomotor-stimulant effects of cocaine and methamphetamine (METH). For cocaine experiments, rats pretreated with saline, cocaine (15 mg/kg), or MEPH (15 mg/kg) for 5 days were injected with cocaine after 10 days of drug absence. For METH experiments, rats pretreated with saline, METH (2 mg/kg), or MEPH (15 mg/kg) were injected with METH after 10 days of drug absence. Cocaine challenge produced greater locomotor activity after pretreatment with cocaine or MEPH than after pretreatment with saline. METH challenge produced greater locomotor activity after METH pretreatment than after saline pretreatment; however, locomotor activity in rats pretreated with MEPH or saline and then challenged with METH was not significantly different. The locomotor response to MEPH (15 mg/kg) was not significantly affected by pretreatment with cocaine (15 mg/kg) or METH (0.5, 2 mg/kg). The present demonstration that cocaine-induced locomotor activation is enhanced by prior MEPH exposure suggests that MEPH cross-sensitizes to cocaine and increases cocaine efficacy. Interestingly, MEPH cross-sensitization was not bidirectional and did not extend to METH, suggesting that the phenomenon is sensitive to specific psychostimulants.