Lysosomal trapping as an important mechanism involved in the cellular distribution of perazine and in pharmacokinetic interaction with antidepressants

Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 1999 Dec;9(6):483-91. doi: 10.1016/s0924-977x(99)00034-6.


Perazine, a piperazine-type phenothiazine neuroleptic, is the most frequently chosen drug for combination with antidepressants in the therapy of complex or 'treatment-resistant' psychiatric illnesses. The aim of the present study was to investigate the contribution of lysosomal trapping to the total tissue uptake of perazine, and the pharmacokinetic interaction between the neuroleptic and antidepressants. Experiments were carried out on slices of different rat organs regarded as a system with functional lysosomes. To distinguish between lysosomal trapping and tissue binding, the experiments were performed in the absence or presence of 'lysosomal inhibitors', i.e. the lysosomotropic compound ammonium chloride or [H+] ionophore monensin, which abolish the pH-gradient of lysosomes. Under steady-state conditions, the highest tissue uptake of perazine was observed for the adipose tissue, which descended in the following order: the adipose tissue>lungs>liver>heart=brain>kidneys>muscles. The contribution of lysosomal trapping to the total tissue uptake amounted to about 40% in the liver, brain and muscles, to 30% in the kidneys, and to 25% in the heart and lungs. In the adipose tissue, no lysosomotropism of perazine was observed. Of the psychotropics studied, perazine was the only drug showing such a high degree of lysosomal trapping in muscles and distinct lysosomotropic properties in the heart. Perazine and the antidepressants used, both tricyclic (imipramine, amitriptyline) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (fluoxetine, sertraline), mutually decreased their tissue uptake. The potency of imipramine to decrease perazine uptake was similar to that of the 'lysosomal inhibitors'. Other antidepressants seemed to exert a somewhat weaker effect. The above interactions between perazine and antidepressants were not observed in the presence of ammonium chloride, which indicates that they proceeded at the level of lysosomal trapping. The adipose tissue in which the drug uptake was not affected by the 'lysosomal inhibitors' was not the site of such an interaction. Ammonium chloride did not affect the drug metabolism in liver slices; other tissues displayed only a negligible biotransformation of the psychotropics studied. A parallel metabolic interaction between perazine and tricyclic antidepressants took part in liver slices (i.e. perazine and antidepressants mutually inhibited their metabolic pathways), but the influence of such an interaction on the lysosomal uptake of the parent compounds in liver slices did not seem to be great. A substantial decrease in concentrations of the drugs in lysosomes (depot form) observed in vitro may lead to an increase in the concentration in vivo of the neuroleptic and antidepressants at the site of action, which, in turn, may increase the risk of cardiotoxic and anticholinergic side-effects of tricyclic antidepressants and sedative and extrapyramidal effects of the neuroleptic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ammonium Chloride / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Ionophores / pharmacology
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Lysosomes / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Monensin / pharmacology
  • Perazine / pharmacokinetics*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Tissue Extracts / pharmacokinetics*


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Ionophores
  • Tissue Extracts
  • Ammonium Chloride
  • Perazine
  • Monensin