Neurochemical similarities between d,l-cathinone and d-amphetamine

G. C. Wagner, K. Preston, G. A. Ricaurte, C. R. Schuster, L. S. Seiden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cathinone, the principal alkaloid of Khat, was compared to the psychomotor stimulant d-amphetamine on a number of neurochemical measures. Like d-amphetamine, d,l-cathinone released and blocked the uptake of tritiated dopamine (DA) in synaptosomal preparations. In addition, repeated high doses of d,l-cathinone produced long-lasting DA depletions in various rat brain regions and decreased the number of synaptosomal DA uptake sites in a manner similar to that seen after repeated d-amphetamine administration. Importantly, this DA neurotoxic effect of d,l-cathinone, like that of d-amphetamine, is selective since regional brain levels of norepinephrine (NE) or serotonin (5-HT) are not altered on a long-term basis by repeated administration of d,l-cathinone. These findings are discussed with reference to the current practice of Khat leaf chewing by people in north-eastern Africa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-284
Number of pages6
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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