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Front Pharmacol. 2019 Jun 28;10:682. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2019.00682. eCollection 2019.

The Novel Atypical Dopamine Uptake Inhibitor (S)-CE-123 Partially Reverses the Effort-Related Effects of the Dopamine Depleting Agent Tetrabenazine and Increases Progressive Ratio Responding.

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Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, United States.
Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
X-ray Structure Analysis Centre, Faculty of Chemistry, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Cagliari, National Institute of Neuroscience (INN), Cagliari, Italy.
Àrea de Psicobiologia, Universitat Jaume I, Castelló, Spain.
Department of Neuroproteomics, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria.


Animal studies of effort-based choice behavior are being used to model effort-related motivational dysfunctions in humans. With these procedures, animals are offered a choice between high-effort instrumental actions leading to highly valued reinforcers vs. low effort/low reward options. Several previous studies have shown that dopamine (DA) uptake inhibitors, including GBR12909, lisdexamfetamine, methylphenidate, and PRX-14040, can reverse the effort-related effects of the vesicular monoamine transport blocker tetrabenazine, which inhibits DA storage. Because many drugs that block DA transport act as major stimulants that also release DA, and produce a number of undesirable side effects, there is a need to develop and characterize novel atypical DA transport inhibitors. (S)-CE-123 ((S)-5-((benzhydrylsulfinyl) methyl)thiazole) is a recently developed analog of modafinil with the biochemical characteristics of an atypical DA transport blocker. The present paper describes the enantioselective synthesis and initial chemical characterization of (S)-CE-123, as well as behavioral experiments involving effort-based choice and microdialysis studies of extracellular DA. Rats were assessed using the fixed ratio 5/chow feeding choice test. Tetrabenazine (1.0 mg/kg) shifted choice behavior, decreasing lever pressing and increasing chow intake. (S)-CE-123 was coadministered at doses ranging from 6.0 to 24.0 mg/kg, and the highest dose partially but significantly reversed the effects of tetrabenazine, although this dose had no effect on fixed ratio responding when administered alone. Additional experiments showed that (S)-CE-123 significantly increased lever pressing on a progressive ratio/chow feeding choice task and that the effective dose (24.0 mg/kg) increased extracellular DA in nucleus accumbens core. In summary, (S)-CE-123 has the behavioral and neurochemical profile of a compound that can block DA transport, reverse the effort-related effects of tetrabenazine, and increase selection of high-effort progressive ratio responding. This suggests that (S)-CE-123 or a similar compound could be useful as a treatment for effort-related motivational dysfunction in humans.


anergia; depression; dopamine; fatigue; modafinil; motivation; synthesis; transport

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