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Neuropsychopharmacology. 1993 Jun;8(4):337-44.

Norfluoxetine enantiomers as inhibitors of serotonin uptake in rat brain.

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Lilly Research Laboratories, Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana 46285.


Like fluoxetine, the N-demethylated metabolite norfluoxetine exists in R- and S-enantiomeric forms. S-Norfluoxetine inhibited serotonin (5-HT) uptake and [3H]paroxetine binding to 5-HT uptake sites with a pKi of 7.86 and 8.88 or 14 and 1.3 nM, respectively, whereas R-norfluoxetine was 22 and 20 times, respectively, less potent. R- and S-Norfluoxetine were less potent than the corresponding enantiomers of fluoxetine as inhibitors of norepinephrine uptake and [3H]tomoxetine binding to norepinephrine uptake sites. Ex vivo studies showed that S-norfluoxetine inhibited 5-HT uptake with an ED50 of 3 mg/kg intraperitoneally, 4.7 mg/kg subcutaneously, and 9 mg/kg orally (7.3, 11.4 and 21.9 mumol/kg, respectively), while the ED50 for R-norfluoxetine exceeded 20 mg/kg intraperitoneally (48.6 mumol/kg). Inhibition of 5-HT uptake in cerebral cortex ex vivo and decrease in 5-HIAA levels in hypothalamus persisted for 24 hours after administration of S-norfluoxetine as demonstrated with the administration of fluoxetine. Thus, S-norfluoxetine is the active N-demethylated metabolite responsible for the persistently potent and selective inhibition of 5-HT uptake in vivo.

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