López-Arnau R, Martínez-Clemente J, Carbó ML, Pubill D, Escubedo E, Camarasa J.
Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2013 Apr 17.
Methylone (3,4-methylenedioxymethcathinone) is a new psychoactive substance and an active ingredient of "legal highs" or "bath salts". We studied the pharmacokinetics and locomotor activity of methylone in rats at doses equivalent to those used in humans.
MATERIAL AND METHODS:
Methylone was administered to male Sprague-Dawley rats intravenously (10mg/kg) and orally (15 and 30mg/kg). Plasma concentrations and metabolites were characterized by LC/MS and LC-MS/MS fragmentation patterns. Locomotor activity was monitored for 180-240min.
Oral administration of methylone induced a dose-dependent increase in locomotor activity in rats. The plasma concentrations after i.v. administration were described by a two-compartment model with distribution and terminal elimination phases of α=1.95h-1 and β=0.72h-1. For oral administration, peak methylone concentrations were achieved between 0.5- 1h and fitted to a flip-flop model. Absolute bioavailability was about 80% and the percentage of methylone protein binding was of 30%. A relationship between methylone brain levels and free plasma concentration yielded a ratio of 1.42±0.06, indicating access to the central nervous system. We have identified four Phase I metabolites after oral administration. The major metabolic routes are N-demethylation, aliphatic hydroxylation and O-methylation of a demethylenate intermediate.
Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic analysis of methylone showed a correlation between plasma concentrations and enhancement of the locomotor activity. A contribution of metabolites in the activity of methylone after oral administration is suggested. Present results will be helpful to understand the time course of the effects of this drug of abuse in humans.