Acute and sub-chronic effects of purified cathinone from khat (Catha edulis) on behavioural profiles in vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops).
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We investigated the cumulative effects of cathinone on behavioural alterations in single-caged vervet monkeys. Fourteen adult vervets were divided into tests (12 animals) and controls (2 animals), and exposed to escalating doses of cathinone at alternate days of each week for 4 months in presence and absence of cage enrichment. One month of pre-treatment phase served to establish baseline values. Composite behavioural scores of aggression, anxiety, abnormal responses, withdrawal and appetite loss were done. A series of repeated measures analysis of variances were conducted to examine the extent to which cathinone administration was associated with patterns of changes in behavioural data. Results indicate a dose-dependent effect of cathinone on increases of aggression, anxiety, abnormal responses, withdrawal, and appetite loss. The findings demonstrate that at high doses and long-term exposure, cathinone causes behavioural alterations probably via changes in presynaptic striatal dopamine system