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Synapse. 1994 Apr;16(4):263-8.

Occupancy of the serotonin transporter by fluoxetine, paroxetine, and sertraline: in vivo studies with [125I]RTI-55.

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Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Department of Radiology, Baltimore, MD 21205.


[125I]RTI-55 was used tracer doses to label serotonin (5-HT) transporters in vivo in the mouse brain. Fluoxetine, paroxetine, and sertraline, potent antidepressants and selective inhibitors of serotonin transporter sites, were administered in various doses and at various times. The doses and times that result in significant binding of the drugs to transporters correspond to doses and times where they are reported to have physiological effects. Estimates of occupancy rate and duration of binding to serotonin transporters were made. The rate of occupancy of the 5-HT transporter site was fastest for sertraline, intermediate for paroxetine and slowest for fluoxetine. Similarly, the duration of occupancy was significantly shorter for sertraline and paroxetine (approximately 10 h) than for fluoxetine (approximately 50 h). The results indicate that in competition studies, [125I]RTI-55 can be used to identify doses of drugs that are physiologically effective, to determine their relative rate of occupancy, and most importantly, to measure the residency time on the central serotonin transporter in vivo.

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