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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2005 Jun;313(3):1361-9. Epub 2005 Mar 10.

Development of a rationally designed, low abuse potential, biogenic amine releaser that suppresses cocaine self-administration.

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  • 1Clinical Psychopharmacology Section, Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.


Convergent lines of evidence support a dual deficit model of stimulant withdrawal, where reductions in synaptic dopamine (DA) and 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin) (5-HT) contribute to dysphoria, drug craving, and relapse. Thus, we predicted that a nonamphetamine compound with substrate activity at DA and 5-HT transporters (i.e., a dual DA/5-HT releaser) would be an effective medication for treating stimulant addictions. Ideally, this type of medication would alleviate withdrawal symptoms, suppress cocaine self-administration, and lack side effects commonly associated with central nervous system stimulants. In the present work, more than 350 compounds were screened in vitro for activity as substrate-type releasing agents at DA, 5-HT, and norepinephrine transporters. These efforts identified PAL-287 (1-napthyl-2-aminopropane) as a nonamphetamine compound with potent substrate activity at biogenic amine transporters. In vivo microdialysis in rats demonstrated that PAL-287 (1-3 mg/kg i.v.) increased extracellular DA and 5-HT in frontal cortex, but effects on 5-HT were somewhat greater. PAL-287 induced substantially less locomotor stimulation than (+)-amphetamine, a drug that increases only extracellular DA. Administration of high-dose (+)-methamphetamine or (+/-)-3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine to rats produced long-lasting depletion of cortical 5-HT, whereas PAL-287 (18 mg/kg i.p. x 3) did not. PAL-287 displayed little or no reinforcing properties in rhesus monkeys trained to self-administer cocaine, yet PAL-287 produced a dose-dependent decrease in responding for cocaine when infused at a dose of 1.0 mg/kg/h. Collectively, the findings reported here demonstrate that nonamphetamine monoamine releasing agents such as PAL-287 might be promising candidate medications for the treatment of stimulant dependence.

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