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Life Sci. 2005 Dec 22;78(5):512-8. Epub 2005 Oct 3.

Targeted screening for biogenic amine transporters: potential applications for natural products.

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Clinical Psychopharmacology Section, Intramural Research Program, NIDA, NIH, 5500 Nathan Shock Drive, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.


The biogenic amine transporters (BATs) are integral membrane proteins that terminate the actions of dopamine (DA), serotonin (5-HT) and norepinephrine (NE) by pumping these substrates from the extracellular space back into the nerve terminal. Numerous drugs and medications target BATs, acting as inhibitors or substrates. This paper will review some of the methods used to measure the activity of test drugs at the BATs. These methods include traditional uptake inhibition assays and transporter binding assays, as well as methods developed in our lab to determine if a test agent is a BAT substrate or inhibitor. Newer methods, developed in our lab, are used to determine the potency of test drugs as BAT substrates in a relatively high throughput manner. The potential application of these methods to characterizing natural products will be discussed in reference to results obtained with "purified" natural products, such as ephedrine stereoisomers.

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