• Article

Cocaine-like discriminative stimulus effects of "norepinephrine-preferring" monoamine releasers Time course and interaction studies in rhesus monkeys

RATIONALE: The therapeutic potential of monoamine releasers with prominent dopaminergic effects is hindered by their high abuse liability.

OBJECTIVES: The present study examined the effects of several novel "norepinephrine (NE)-preferring" monoamine releasers relative to non-selective monoamine releasers, d-amphetamine and d-methamphetamine, in rhesus monkeys trained to discriminate cocaine. NE-preferring releasers were approximately 13-fold more potent for NE compared to dopamine release and ranged in potency for serotonin release (PAL-329 < l-methamphetamine < PAL-169).

METHODS: Adult rhesus macaques were trained to discriminate 0.4 mg/kg, IM cocaine on a 30-response fixed ratio schedule of food reinforcement. Substitution studies determined the extent to which test drugs produced cocaine-like discriminative stimulus effects and their time course. Drug interaction studies determined whether pretreatment with test drugs altered the discriminable effects of cocaine.

RESULTS: Results show that cocaine, d-amphetamine, and d-methamphetamine dose-dependently substituted for cocaine with similar potencies. Among the "NE-preferring" releasers, PAL-329 and l-methamphetamine also dose-dependently substituted for cocaine but differed in potency. PAL-169 failed to substitute for cocaine up to a dose that disrupted responding. When administered prior to cocaine, only d-amphetamine and PAL-329 significantly shifted the cocaine dose-effect function leftward indicating enhancement of cocaine's discriminative stimulus effects.

CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that greater potency for NE relative to dopamine release (up to 13-fold) does not interfere with the ability of a monoamine releaser to produce cocaine-like discriminative effects but that increased serotonin release may have an inhibitory effect. Further characterization of these and other "NE-preferring" monoamine releasers should provide insight into their potential for the management of cocaine addiction.


Kohut, S. J., Jacobs, D. S., Rothman, R. B., Partilla, J. S., Bergman, J., & Blough, B. E. (2017). Cocaine-like discriminative stimulus effects of "norepinephrine-preferring" monoamine releasers: Time course and interaction studies in rhesus monkeys. Psychopharmacology, 234(23-24), 3455-3465. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-017-4731-5

DOI Links