Pharmacological profiles of aminoindanes, piperazines, and pipradrol derivatives

Biochem Pharmacol. 2014 Mar 15;88(2):237-44. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2014.01.024. Epub 2014 Jan 28.


Aminoindanes, piperazines, and pipradrol derivatives are novel psychoactive substances found in "Ecstasy" tablets as replacements for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) or substances sold as "ivory wave." The pharmacology of these MDMA- and methylphenidate-like substances is poorly known. We characterized the pharmacology of the aminoindanes 5,6-methylenedioxy-2-aminoindane (MDAI), 5-iodoaminoindane (5-IAI), and 2-aminoindane (2-AI), the piperazines meta-chlorophenylpiperazine (m-CPP), trifluoromethylphenylpiperazine (TFMPP), and 1-benzylpiperazine (BZP), and the pipradrol derivatives desoxypipradrol (2-diphenylmethylpiperidine [2-DPMP]), diphenylprolinol (diphenyl-2-pyrrolidinemethanol [D2PM]), and methylphenidate. We investigated norepinephrine (NE), dopamine (DA), and serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine [5-HT]) uptake inhibition using human embryonic kidney 293 (HEK 293) cells that express the respective human monoamine transporters (NET, DAT, and SERT). We also evaluated the drug-induced efflux of NE, DA, and 5-HT from monoamine-preloaded cells and the binding affinity to monoamine transporters and receptors, including trace amine-associated receptor 1 (TAAR1). 5-IAI and MDAI preferentially inhibited the SERT and NET and released 5-HT. 2-AI interacted with the NET. BZP blocked the NET and released DA. m-CPP and TFMPP interacted with the SERT and serotonergic receptors. The pipradrol derivatives were potent and selective catecholamine transporter blockers without substrate releasing properties. BZP, D2PM, and 2-DPMP lacked serotonergic activity and TAAR1 binding, in contrast to the aminoindanes and phenylpiperazines. In summary, all of the substances were monoamine transporter inhibitors, but marked differences were found in their DAT vs. SERT inhibition profiles, release properties, and receptor interactions. The pharmacological profiles of D2PM and 2-DPMP likely predict a high abuse liability.

Keywords: Monoamine; Novel psychoactive substance; Receptor; Transporter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Indans / chemistry
  • Indans / pharmacology*
  • Piperazines / chemistry
  • Piperazines / pharmacology*
  • Piperidines / chemistry
  • Piperidines / pharmacology*
  • Protein Binding / physiology
  • Vesicular Monoamine Transport Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Vesicular Monoamine Transport Proteins / metabolism


  • Indans
  • Piperazines
  • Piperidines
  • Vesicular Monoamine Transport Proteins
  • aminoindanol
  • pipradrol