Linear pharmacokinetics of 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and its metabolites in the rat: relationship to pharmacodynamic effects

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3,4-Methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) is a commonly abused synthetic cathinone in the United States and is associated with dangerous side effects. MDPV is a dopamine transporter blocker that is 10-fold more potent than cocaine as a locomotor stimulant in rats. Previous in vitro and in vivo metabolism studies identified 3,4-dihydroxypyrovalerone (3,4-catechol-PV) and 4-hydroxy-3-methoxypyrovalerone (4-OH-3-MeO-PV) as the two primary MDPV metabolites. This study examined MDPV pharmacokinetics and metabolism, along with associated pharmacodynamic effects in rats receiving 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0 mg/kg subcutaneous (s.c.) MDPV. Blood was collected by an indwelling jugular catheter before dosing and at 10, 20, 30, 60, 120, 240 and 480 minutes thereafter. Plasma specimens were analyzed by liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry. Maximum concentrations (Cmax) and area-under-the-curve (AUC) for MDPV and two metabolites increased proportionally with administered dose, showing linear pharmacokinetics. MDPV exhibited the highest Cmax at all doses (74.2–271.3 μg/l) and 4-OH-3-MeOH-PV the highest AUC (11 366–47 724 minutes per μg/l), being the predominant metabolite. MDPV time to Cmax (Tmax) was 12.9–18.6 minutes, while 3,4-catechol-PV and 4-OH-3-MeO-PV peaked later with Tmax 188.6–240 minutes after s.c. dosing. Horizontal locomotor activity (HLA) and stereotypy correlated positively with plasma MDPV concentrations, while HLA correlated negatively with MDPV metabolites. These results suggest that the parent compound mediates motor stimulation after systemic MDPV administration, but additionally, metabolites may be inhibitory, may not be active or may not pass the blood brain barrier.

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