The dopamine transporter (DAT) plays an important homeostatic role in the control of both the extracellular and intraneuronal concentrations of dopamine, thereby providing effective control over activity of dopaminergic transmission. Since brain dopamine is known to be involved in numerous neuropsychiatric disorders, investigations using mice with genetically altered DAT function and thus intensity of dopamine-mediated signaling have provided numerous insights into the pathology of these disorders and novel pathological mechanisms that could be targeted to provide new therapeutic approaches for these disorders. In this brief overview, we discuss recent investigations involving animals with genetically altered DAT function, particularly focusing on translational studies providing new insights into pathology and pharmacology of dopamine-related disorders. Perspective applications of these and newly developed models of DAT dysfunction are also discussed.
Keywords: Addiction; Parkinson’s disease; attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; dopamine transporter; knockout; schizophrenia.