Rationale: Ecstasy (MDMA) is used predominately by adolescents and young adults. Young MDMA users are more likely than non-users to use other drugs, including cocaine. The response to stimulant drugs can be affected by environmental factors; however, little information exists about the role that housing plays in mediating effects of MDMA in adolescence. Objectives: The present experiment examined whether social and environmental factors alter effects of MDMA on activity and cocaine reward. Methods: Male adolescent rats were housed on PND 23. Isolated rats were housed alone (1 rat/cage) in an impoverished environment with no toys (II) or enriched with toys (IE). Social rats were housed three/cage with (SE3) or without (SI3) toys. Starting on PND 29, 5 mg/kg MDMA or saline was injected and activity was measured for 60 min once daily for five consecutive days. On PND 36-40, cocaine CPP was conducted. Results: Saline vehicle-induced activity of II rats was higher than other groups, and all groups became sensitized to the locomotor-stimulant effects of MDMA. In II rats, maximal CPP was increased after MDMA pre-exposure compared to vehicle. Environmental enrichment blocked this; however, dose-effect curves for cocaine CPP shifted to the left in both IE and SE3 rats. In rats with just social enrichment, there were no effects of MDMA on cocaine CPP. Conclusion: Drug prevention and treatment strategies should take into account different environments in which adolescents live. These findings show that MDMA increases cocaine reward in male adolescents, and social enrichment diminishes, while environmental enrichment enhances this.
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