Relevance of rodent models of intravenous MDMA self-administration to human MDMA consumption patterns
De La Garza R 2nd, Fabrizio KR, Gupta A.
Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences,
David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los Angeles,
Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior,
740 Westwood Boulevard, Suite A8-148, Los Angeles, CA, 90024, USA,
Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2006 Feb 10;:1-10


R RATIONALE: Despite decades of research specifying harmful effects produced by 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA; a principal component of 'ecstasy' pills), young people (and adults) continue to use it. In an attempt to model human MDMA consumption patterns, preclinical investigators have sought to establish reliable patterns of intravenous MDMA self-administration in rodents. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this report is to offer a critical review of published data (including our own novel findings) that reveal MDMA self-administration in rodents. RESULTS: The data indicate that MDMA serves as a reinforcer in rodents, though the responses are not similar to those previously reported for psychostimulants (i.e., cocaine). Important differences between rodent models and human use patterns include frequency of dosing and dosage exposure, routes of administration, tolerance that develops to MDMA after repeated exposure, polydrug use in humans but not by rodents, limits on the repertoire of behaviors that can be exhibited by rodents undergoing IV self-administration procedures, and the question of neurotoxicity as it relates to models of self-administration. CONCLUSIONS: While MDMA is not as potent a reinforcer as other drugs of abuse, the fact remains that young people and adults continue to use the drug, and therefore, additional research is needed to determine why drugs with low reinforcing effects continue to be abused.

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