A series of 3-phenyl-1-indanamines was synthesized and tested for potential antidepressant activity and for inhibition of dopamine (DA), norepinephrine (NE), and serotonin (5-HT) uptake. Trans isomers were generally potent inhibitors of DA, NE, and 5-HT uptake, while cis isomers preferentially inhibited the uptake of 5-HT. The affinity for the DA-uptake site was very dependent on the aromatic substitution pattern where highest potency was found for 3',4'-dichloro substituted compounds (45). This substitution pattern also resulted in high affinity for the NE-and 5-HT-uptake sites, but potent 5-HT-uptake inhibiting activity could also be obtained with other substitution patterns. Only small amines could be accommodated at the 5-HT-uptake site while larger amines such as piperazine could be accommodated both at the DA-and NE-uptake sites. The observed structure-activity relationships were explained from the results of superimpositions of a trans (45) and cis (72) isomer with 5-HT and DA, respectively, in relation to a proposed three-point binding of the uptake inhibitors at the uptake sites. Finally, comparison of the structures of the 3-phenyl-1-indanamines with other newer bicyclic catecholamine- and/or serotonin-uptake inhibitors revealed common structural elements important for potent DA-, NE-, and/or 5-HT-uptake inhibition.