18-Methoxycoronaridine, a non-toxic iboga alkaloid congener: effects on morphine and cocaine self-administration and on mesolimbic dopamine release in rats

Abstract

Ibogaine, a naturally occurring iboga alkaloid, has been claimed to be effective in treating addiction to opioids and stimulants, and has been reported to inhibit morphine and cocaine self-administration in rats. However, ibogaine also has acute nonspecific side effects (e.g. tremors, decreased motivated behavior in general) as well as neurotoxic effects (Purkinje cell loss) manifested in the vermis of the cerebellum. 18-Methoxycoronaridine (MC) is a novel, synthetic iboga alkaloid congener that mimics ibogaine's effects on drug self-administration without appearing to have ibogaine's other adverse effects. Acutely, in rats, MC decreased morphine and cocaine self-administration but did not affect bar-press responding for water. In some rats, treatment with MC (40 mg/kg) induced prolonged decreases in morphine or cocaine intake lasting several days or weeks. MC had no apparent tremorigenic effect, and there was no evidence of cerebellar toxicity after a high dose (100 mg/kg) of MC. Similar to the effects of ibogaine and other iboga alkaloids that inhibit drug self-administration, MC (40 mg/kg) decreased extracellular levels of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens. MC therefore appears to be a safer, ibogaine-like agent that might be useful in the treatment of addictive disorders.

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