- Shekar A, Aguilar JI, Galli G, Cozzi NV, Brandt SD, Ruoho AE, Baumann MH, Matthies HJ, Galli A. Atypical dopamine efflux caused by 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) via the human dopamine transporter. Journal of chemical neuroanatomy. 2017 Feb 3. PMID: 28163218 [PubMed].
Synthetic cathinones are similar in chemical structure to amphetamines, and their behavioral effects are associated with enhanced dopaminergic signaling. The past ten years of research on the common constituent of bath salts, MDPV (the synthetic cathinone 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone), has aided the understanding of how synthetic cathinones act at the dopamine (DA) transporter (DAT). Several groups have described the ability of MDPV to block the DAT with high-affinity. In this study, we demonstrate for the first time a new mode of action of MDPV, namely its ability to promote DAT-mediated DA efflux. Using single cell amperometric assays, we determined that low concentrations of MDPV (1nM) can cause reverse transport of DA via DAT. Notably, administration of MDPV leads to hyperlocomotion in Drosophila melanogaster. These data describe further how MDPV acts at the DAT, possibly paving the way for novel treatment strategies for individuals who abuse bath salts.