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Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Apr 1;32(3):701-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2007.11.017. Epub 2007 Nov 23.

Effect of adolescent exposure to MDMA and cocaine on acquisition and reinstatement of morphine-induce CPP.

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  • 1Unidad de Investigación Psicobiología de las Drogodependencias, Departamento de Psicobiología, Facultad de Psicología, Universitat de Valencia, Avda. Blasco Ibáñez 21, 46010 Valencia, Spain.


It is well known that an elevated percentage of ecstasy users also consume cocaine. Recently, it has been reported that a high frequency of heroin smokers first consumed heroin under the effects of ecstasy with the hope of reducing the stimulant effects of the latter drug. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of exposure to MDMA and cocaine during adolescence on morphine-induced conditioned place preference (CPP) and reinstatement in adulthood. In the first experiment, adolescent mice were exposed to six injections of MDMA and three weeks later their response to the reinforcing properties of 40 mg/kg of morphine was evaluated using the CPP paradigm. All the treatment groups developed the same magnitude of morphine-induced preference and, after CPP was extinguished, it was restored in all the groups with a priming dose of 10 mg/kg of morphine. Only mice that had been treated with 10 or 20 mg/kg of MDMA had their morphine-induced preference reinstated after receiving only 5 mg/kg of morphine. In the second experiment, adolescent mice were similarly treated with six administrations of cocaine (25 mg/kg) or cocaine plus MDMA (5, 10 or 20 mg/kg), and their response to morphine-induce CPP was evaluated three weeks later. Similarly to the first experiment, all the groups developed a preference for the morphine-paired compartment, but this preference was not reinstated with a priming dose of 10 mg/kg of morphine following extinction, as was the case among the control animals. These results lead us to hypothesize that periadolescent MDMA exposure alters responsiveness to the rewarding properties of morphine, highlighting MDMA as a gateway drug whose use may increase the likelihood of dependence on other drugs.

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