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FEBS Lett. 1998 Feb 27;423(3):376-80.

MK-801 blocks monoamine transporters expressed in HEK cells.

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Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, Osaka University Medical School, Suita, Japan.


(+)-MK-801 is known to be a specific non-competitive antagonist of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. However, besides having an anticonvulsant effect, this compound possesses a central sympathomimetic effect and an anxiolytic-like action, raising the possibility that (+)-MK-801 might affect monoamine uptake systems. To elucidate this possibility, we investigated the effects of (+)-MK-801 on monoamine transporters expressed in HEK cells. (+)-MK-801 significantly inhibited the uptake of all three monoamine transporters in a dose-dependent manner and the inhibitions were competitive with respect to monoamines. The Ki values of (+)-MK-801 on the norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin transporters were 3.2 microM, 40 microM and 43 microM, respectively. In addition, (-)-MK-801, a less potent antagonist of NMDA receptors, also inhibited monoamine transporters with a similar potency as that of (+)-MK-801. These results clearly indicate that MK-801, a non-competitive antagonist of NMDA receptors, competitively inhibits monoamine transporters without stereoselectivity.

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