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Curr Top Behav Neurosci. 2017;32:333-350. doi: 10.1007/7854_2016_63.

Application of a Combined Approach to Identify New Psychoactive Street Drugs and Decipher Their Mechanisms at Monoamine Transporters.

Author information

1
Center of Physiology and Pharmacology, Institute of Pharmacology, Medical University Vienna, Waehringerstrasse 13a, A-1090, Vienna, Austria.
2
Clinical Department of Laboratory Medicine, Medical University of Vienna, Waehringer Guertel 10-20, 1090, Vienna, Austria.
3
checkit! - Suchthilfe Wien GmbH, Gumpendorfer G├╝rtel 8, 1060, Vienna, Austria.
4
Center of Physiology and Pharmacology, Institute of Pharmacology, Medical University Vienna, Waehringerstrasse 13a, A-1090, Vienna, Austria. harald.sitte@meduniwien.ac.at.
5
Center for Addiction Research and Science - Medical University Vienna, Waehringerstrasse 13A, 1090, Vienna, Austria. harald.sitte@meduniwien.ac.at.

Abstract

Psychoactive compounds can cause acute and long-term health problems and lead to addiction. In addition to well-studied and legally controlled compounds like cocaine, new psychoactive substances (NPS) are appearing in street drug markets as replacement strategies and legal alternatives. NPS are effectively marketed as "designer drugs" or "research chemicals" without any knowledge of their underlying pharmacological mode of action and their potential toxicological effects and obviously devoid of any registration process. As of 2016, the knowledge of structure-activity relationships for most NPS is scarce, and predicting detailed pharmacological activity of newly emerging drugs is a challenging task. Therefore, it is important to combine different approaches and employ biological test systems that are superior to mere chemical analysis in recognizing novel and potentially harmful street drugs. In this chapter, we provide a detailed description of techniques to decipher the molecular mechanism of action of NPS that target the high-affinity transporters for dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. In addition, this chapter provides insights into a combined approach to identify and characterize new psychoactive street drugs of unknown content in a collaboration with the Austrian prevention project "checkit!."

KEYWORDS:

Amphetamine; Analytical identification; Bath salts; Cocaine; Dopamine; Monoamine transporters; New psychoactive substances; Norepinephrine; Psychostimulants; Research chemicals; Serotonin

PMID:
28025810
DOI:
10.1007/7854_2016_63
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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