Interactions between impulsivity and MDPV self-administration in rats

Megan S. Abbott, Robert W. Seaman, Michelle R. Doyle, David R. Maguire, Kenner C. Rice, Gregory T. Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Synthetic cathinones, such as 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), are recreational drugs of abuse often identified in ‘bath salts’ preparations. Humans report compulsive patterns of bath salts use, and previous work suggests that a subset of rats develop unusually high levels of MDPV self-administration. This study aims to test the hypothesis that high levels of impulsivity (e.g., inability to withhold responding for a sucrose reward) will predispose rats to high levels of MDPV self-administration relative to rats with lower levels of impulsivity. The 1-choice serial reaction time task (1-CSRTT) was used to assess impulsivity (i.e., premature responding) in 10 female and 10 male Sprague Dawley rats. Rats were then allowed to self-administer 0.032 mg/kg/inf MDPV or 0.32 mg/kg/inf cocaine, after which full dose–response curves for MDPV (0.001–0.1 mg/kg/inf) or cocaine (0.01–1 mg/kg/inf) were generated under a FR5 schedule of reinforcement. After a history of self-administering MDPV or cocaine, impulsivity was reassessed under the 1-CSRTT, prior to evaluating the acute effects of MDPV (0.032–0.32 mg/kg) or cocaine (0.1–1 mg/kg) on impulsivity. Level of impulsivity was not correlated with subsequent levels of either MDPV or cocaine self-administration, and level of drug self-administration was also not correlated with subsequent levels of impulsivity, although acute administration of MDPV and cocaine did increase premature responding. In failing to find direct relationships between either impulsivity and subsequent drug-taking behaviour, or drug-taking behaviour and subsequent assessments of impulsivity, these findings highlight the complexity inherent in the associations between impulsive behaviour and drug-taking behaviour in both animal models and humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13168
JournalAddiction Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2022


  • MDPV
  • cocaine
  • impulsivity
  • rats
  • self-administration
  • synthetic cathinones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology


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