Management and coordination of the Project

Description and objectives:

In this WP1, the Coordinator Partner will lead the overall management of the action. The Coordinator does not have sole responsibility for this WP1, but will act as lead in order to guide and assist where necessary. This will include convening meetings as necessary and ensuring that all partners are sure of their roles and responsibilities for the project.


Selection of NPS

Description and objectives:

In the context where a rapidly growing number of NPS are identified each year, it is mandatory to concentrate efforts and resources on selected NPS with a high potential of abuse and severe health risks. Among them, it is worth mentioning synthetic cathinones, phenethylamines and tryptamines. Thus, the objective of this WP is to select eight recently emerged NPS (3 cathinone- , 2 phenethylamine- and 3 tryptamine-derivatives) from updated EU databases and based on their novelty, lack of scientific knowledge and their potential to induce drug dependence and/or psychedelic effects.


Chemical synthesis

Description and objectives:

The objective of this WP is to synthetize the selected NPS obtained from WP2


Chemical analysis

Description and objectives:

The objective of this WP is to design analytical protocols to determine the selected NPS in WP2 in biological matrices and seized materials.


Mechanistic assays

Description and objectives:

In the context of the project, we will characterize in vitro and in vivo the mechanism/s of action directly involved in the addiction potential and main behavioral effects of the selected NPS. For cathinones and phenethylamines, the ability to inhibit neurotransmitter uptake and the interaction with monoamine transporters will be assessed, as well as their ability to release dopamine and serotonin in the nucleus accumbens. For phenethylamines and tryptamine derivatives, we will measure their ability to interact with and activate serotonergic receptors (mainly 5-HT2A and 5-HT1A) which is related with hallucinogen properties.


Behavioral assays

Description and objectives:

The objective of this WP is to characterize and quantify “in vivo” the behavioral effects of NPS responsible for their misuse. For the selected cathinones and phenethylamines, the psychostimulant effect as well as their abuse liability will be assessed. The abuse properties will be determined through two specific paradigms, which provide different information about the addictive process. For tryptamines and phenethylamines we will measure the hallucinogen effects through head-twitch response (HTR) assays in rodents.