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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Investigation of MDMA-related agents in rats trained to discriminate MDMA from saline.

To determine whether metabolite-related analogs of N-methyl-1-(3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl)-2-aminopropane (MDMA) produce stimulus effects similar to those of the parent compound, and to determine the structural requirements associated with the MDMA stimulus, several MDMA analogs were examined in tests of stimulus generalization using rats trained to discriminate 1.5 mg/kg MDMA from saline. Although several of the analogs produced up to 50-60% MDMA-appropriate responding, none [with the exception of N-methyl-1-(4-methoxyphenyl)-2-aminopropane (PMMA)] resulted in stimulus generalization. The partial generalization, coupled with the possible reduced ability of certain of the agents to penetrate the blood-brain barrier relative to MDMA, suggests that these agents are not behaviorally inactive. PMMA, although not a metabolite of MDMA, is closely related in chemical structure to MDMA and its metabolites; PMMA produces > 80% MDMA-appropriate responding and is approximately three times more potent (ED50 = 0.2 mg/kg) than MDMA itself (ED50 = 0.76 mg/kg). PMMA is a newer scheduled substance with an as yet unknown mechanism of action; however, on the basis of the stimulus generalization observed PMMA may share some behavioral and mechanistic similarity with MDMA. These results also indicate that an intact methylenedioxy ring, such as that found in MDMA but absent in PMMA, is not a prerequisite for MDMA-like activity and further support the notion that ring-opened MDMA metabolites may produce effects that contribute to the actions of MDMA.[1]


  1. Investigation of MDMA-related agents in rats trained to discriminate MDMA from saline. Glennon, R.A., Higgs, R. Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. (1992) [Pubmed]
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