gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the mammalian brain. The synaptic action of GABA is terminated by rapid uptake into presynaptic terminals and surrounding glial cells. Molecular cloning has revealed the existence of four distinct GABA transporters termed GAT-1, GAT-2, GAT-3, and BGT-1. Pharmacological inhibition of transport provides a mechanism for increasing GABA-ergic transmission, which may be useful in the treatment of various neuropsychiatric disorders. Recently, a number of lipophilic GABA transport inhibitors have been designed and synthesized, which are capable of crossing the blood brain barrier, and which display anticonvulsive activity. We have now determined the potency of four of these compounds, SK&F 89976-A (N-(4,4-diphenyl-3-butenyl)-3-piperidinecarboxylic acid), tiagabine ((R)-1-[4,4-bis(3-methyl-2-thienyl)-3-butenyl]-3- piperidencarboxylic acid), CI-966 ([1-[2-[bis 4-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl]methoxy]ethyl]-1,2,5,6-tetrahydro-3- pyridinecarboxylic acid), and NNC-711 (1-(2-(((diphenylmethylene)amino)oxy)ethyl)-1,2,4,6-tetrahydro-3- pyridinecarboxylic acid hydrochloride), at each of the four cloned GABA transporters, and find them to be highly selective for GAT-1. These data suggest that the anticonvulsant activity of these compounds is mediated via inhibition of uptake by GAT-1.