Evaluation of organic cation transporter 3 (SLC22A3) inhibition as a potential mechanism of antidepressant action

Hao Jie Zhu, David I. Appel, Dirk Gründemann, Elliott Richelson, John S. Markowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Organic cation transporter 3 (OCT3, SLC22A3) is a low-affinity, high-capacity transporter widely expressed in the central nervous system (CNS) and other major organs in both humans and rodents. It is postulated that OCT3 has a role in the overall regulation of neurotransmission and maintenance of homeostasis within the CNS. It is generally believed that all antidepressant drugs in current clinical use exert their primary therapeutic effects through inhibition of one or more of the high-affinity neuronal plasma membrane monoamine transporters, such as the norepinephrine transporter and the serotonin transporter. In the present study, we investigated the inhibitory effects of selected antidepressants on OCT3 activity in OCT3-transfected cells to evaluate whether OCT3 inhibition may at least in part contribute to the pharmacological effects of tested antidepressants. The studies demonstrated that all examined antidepressants inhibited OCT3-mediated uptake of the established OCT3 substrate 4-(4-(dimethylamino)styryl)-N-methylpyridinium iodide (4-Di-1-ASP) in a concentration-dependent manner. The IC 50 values were determined to be 4.7 μM, 7.4 μM, 12.0 μM, 18.6 μM, 11.2 μM, and 21.9 μM for desipramine, sertraline, paroxetine, amitriptyline, imipramine, and fluoxetine, respectively. Additionally, desipramine had an IC 50 value of 0.7 μM for the uptake of NE by OCT3, while the IC 50 value of sertraline was 2.3 μM for 5-HT uptake. Both desipramine and sertraline appeared to inhibit OCT3 activity via a non-competitive mechanism. In vivo studies are warranted to determine whether such effects on OCT3 inhibition are of sufficient magnitude to contribute to the overall therapeutic effects of antidepressants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-496
Number of pages6
JournalPharmacological Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Antidepressant
  • Depression
  • Inhibition
  • Organic cation transporter 3
  • Uptake-1
  • Uptake-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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