Antidepressant binding sites in brain: Autoradiographic comparison of [3H]paroxetine and [3H]imipramine localization and relationship to serotonin transporter

P. D. Hrdina, B. Foy, A. Hepner, R. J. Summers

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Binding of two different antidepressant drugs, [3H]paroxetine and [3H]imipramine in 30 rat brain regions was visualized, compared and quantified by means of autoradiography and densitometry. Specific binding of [3H]paroxetine to coronal sections of diencephalon represented 85% of total binding and was saturable and of high affinity (K(D), 0.36 ± 0.07 nM) with a maximum number of binding sites of 276 ± 41 fmol/mg protein. The autoradiograms showed a heterogenous distribution of [3H]paroxetine in brain with selective accumulation of label in brain regions known to contain serotonergic terminals, axons and cell bodies (amygdaloid and raphe nuclei, superior colliculus, substantia nigra and medial forebrain bundle). Binding was displaced selectively with other serotonin uptake inhibitors (clomipramine and fluoxetine) and almost abolished by lesioning the serotonergic neurons with p-chloroamphetamine. The desipramine-sensitive [3H]imipramine binding was more diffuse with relatively high density in cerebral cortex and hippocampus and was only decreased partially in animals treated with p-chloroamphetamine. The results indicate that [3H]paroxetine, but not [3H]imipramine, is a ligand of choice to selectively label serotonergic structures in brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-418
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1990
Externally publishedYes

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