Abuse liability of novel 'legal high' designer stimulants: evidence from animal models.
1-Benzylpiperazine (also known as 'Legal X', 'Legal E', or 'A2') is a psychoactive compound increasingly encountered on the clandestine market. Previous experimental data suggest that the compound possesses addictive properties. In the present study, we used the conditioned place preference method in the rat to test whether 1-benzylpiperazine possesses rewarding properties. Furthermore, the mechanisms of the 1-benzylpiperazine reward were investigated using selected dopamine and serotonin receptor antagonists. 1-Benzylpiperazine (1.25, 5, and 20 mg/kg) induced dose-dependently place preference. This place preference was attenuated by the antagonists SCH23390 (0.2 mg/kg; dopamine D1-like receptors) and MDL72222 (1.0 mg/kg; serotonin3 receptors), but not by raclopride (0.8 mg/kg; dopamine D2-like receptors) or ketanserin (2 mg/kg; preferentially serotonin2 receptors). Our results show that 1-benzylpiperazine possesses rewarding properties in the rat, which suggests the compound to be susceptible to human abuse. The brain dopaminergic and serotonergic systems appear to be involved in the 1-benzylpiperazine reward.