Call for Papers  

Article Details

Research Article

Brain Concentrations of MDPV and its Metabolites in Male Rats: Relationship to Pharmacodynamic Effects

[ Vol. 28 , Issue. 32 ]


Marta Concheiro*, Steven Towler, Joshua S. Elmore, Michael R. Chojnacki, Teeshavi Acosta, Masaki Suzuki, Kenner C. Rice and Michael H. Baumann*   Pages 2653 - 2663 ( 11 )


Background: MDPV (3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone) is a synthetic stimulant that blocks transmitter uptake at transporters for dopamine and norepinephrine. Less is known about MDPV pharmacokinetics, especially with respect to brain concentrations of the drug and its metabolites.

Objectives: The goal of the present study was: 1) to determine brain concentrations of MDPV and its metabolites, 3,4-dihydroxypyrovalerone (3,4-catechol-PV) and 4-hydroxy-3-methoxy-pyrovalerone (4-OH-3-MeOPV), after administration of MDPV, and 2) to relate brain pharmacokinetic measures to pharmacodynamic endpoints in the same subjects.

Methods: Male Sprague-Dawley rats (300-400 g) received s.c. MDPV injection (1, 2, or 4 mg/kg) or its saline vehicle. Groups of rats were decapitated at 40 min and 240 min postinjection. Locomotor behavior was rated before decapitation, and the core temperature was obtained. Plasma and frontal cortex were analyzed to quantitate MDPV and its metabolites. Striatal samples were analyzed to measure dopamine, serotonin (5-HT), and their metabolites.

Results: MDPV displayed brain-to-plasma ratios greater than 1 (range 8.8-12.1), whereas 3,4-catechol-PV and 4-OH-3-MeO-PV showed ratios less than 1 (range 0-0.3). MDPV increased behavioural scores reflective of locomotor stimulation at 40 and 240 min and produced slight hyperthermia at 240 min. MDPV had no effect on striatal dopamine but produced an increase in the metabolite homovanillic acid (HVA). Brain MDPV concentrations were positively correlated with behavioural scores and striatal HVA but not with other endpoints.

Conclusion: The behavioural effects of MDPV are related to brain concentrations of the parent drug and not its metabolites. The modest effects of MDPV on monoamine systems suggest that other non-monoamine mechanisms may contribute to the effects of the drug in vivo.


MDPV, plasma, brain, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, synthetic cathinones.


Read Full-Text article