• Journal Article

Effects of synthetic cathinones contained in 'bath salts' on motor behavior and a functional observational battery in mice

Citation

Marusich, J., Grant, K. R., Blough, B., & Wiley, J. (2012). Effects of synthetic cathinones contained in 'bath salts' on motor behavior and a functional observational battery in mice. NeuroToxicology, 33(5), 1305-1313. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuro.2012.08.003

Abstract

Synthetic stimulants commonly sold as 'bath salts' are an emerging abuse problem in the U.S. Users have shown paranoia, delusions, and self-injury. Previously published in vivo research has been limited to only two components of bath salts (mephedrone and methylone). The purpose of the present study was to evaluate in vivo effects of several synthetic cathinones found in bath salts and to compare them to those of cocaine (COC) and methamphetamine (METH). Acute effects of methylenedioxyphyrovalerone (MDPV), mephedrone, methylone, methedrone, 3-fluoromethcathinone (3-FMC), 4-fluoromethcathinone (4-FMC), COC, and METH were examined in male ICR mice on locomotor activity, rotorod, and a functional observational battery (FOB). All drugs increased locomotor activity, with different compounds showing different potencies and time courses in locomotor activity. 3-FMC and methylone decreased performance on the rotorod. The FOB showed that in addition to typical stimulant induced effects, some synthetic cathinones produced ataxia, convulsions, and increased exploration. These results suggest that individual synthetic cathinones differ in their profile of effects, and differ from known stimulants of abuse. Effects of 3-FMC, 4-FMC, and methedrone indicate these synthetic cathinones share major pharmacological properties with the ones that have been banned (mephedrone, MDPV, methylone), suggesting that they may be just as harmful