Non-amine dopamine transporter probe [(3)H]tropoxene distributes to dopamine-rich regions of monkey brain

Synapse. 1999 Oct;34(1):20-7. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2396(199910)34:1<20::AID-SYN3>3.0.CO;2-4.


Drug development in psychopharmacology has adhered to the unwritten precept that compounds targeting monoamine transporters must contain an amine nitrogen in the molecular structure. A series of non-amine-bearing aryloxatropanes that are potent inhibitors of the dopamine transporter (DAT) challenged this precept. In the present study, we investigated the brain distribution of a selective, high-affinity DAT non-amine, [(3)H]tropoxene (2-carbomethoxy-3, 4dichloro-3-aryl-8-oxabicyclo[3.2.1] octene), which binds to the DAT in monkey striatum. The autoradiographic distribution of [(3)H]tropoxene was conducted in tissue sections of rhesus (Macaca mulatta) monkey brain. Highest accumulation of the radioligand was detected in the putamen and caudate nucleus, with significant levels also observed in the nucleus accumbens and substantia nigra. Moderate to low levels of [(3)H]tropoxene binding were noted in the hypothalamus, amygdala, ventral tegmental area, and thalamus. The distribution of [(3)H]tropoxene was restricted to brain regions previously identified as expressing DAT, and the relative densities of [(3)H]tropoxene binding sites in various brain regions corresponded to those observed with other selective monoamine radioligands for the DAT. This is the first report to demonstrate that transporter-selective compounds that bear no amine nitrogen in their structure bind selectively to brain regions rich in the transporter. The results support our conclusion that an amine nitrogen is not necessary for compounds to bind to monoamine transporters and distribute in brain according to the known distribution of transporters. The findings provide further incentives to investigate the pharmacological potential of transport inhibitors lacking an amine nitrogen in the molecular structure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Caudate Nucleus / drug effects
  • Caudate Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cocaine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Cocaine / pharmacokinetics
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Female
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • Putamen / drug effects
  • Putamen / metabolism
  • Radioligand Assay


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Dopamine Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • tropoxene
  • Cocaine
  • Dopamine