[3H]Threo‐(±)‐Methylphenidate Binding to 3,4‐Dihydroxyphenylethylamine Uptake Sites in Corpus Striatum: Correlation with the Stimulant Properties of Ritalinic Acid Esters

Margaret M. Schweri, Phil Skolnick, Michael F. Rafferty, Kenner C. Rice, Aaron J. Janowsky, Steven M. Paul

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Abstract: Saturable and stereoselective binding sites for [3H]threo‐(±)‐methylphenidate were characterized in rat brain membranes. The highest density of [3H]threo‐(±)‐ methylphenidate binding sites was found in the synapto somal fraction of corpus striatum. Scatchard analysis revealed a single class of noninteracting binding sites with an apparent dissociation constant (KD) of 235 nM and a maximum number of binding sites (Bmax) of 13.4 pmol/mg protein. Saturable, high‐affinity binding of [3H]threo‐(±)‐methylphenidate to striatal synaptosomal membranes was dependent on the presence of sodium ions. A good correlation (r = 0.88; p < 0.001) was observed between the potencies of various psychotropic drugs in displacing [3H]threo‐(±)‐methylphenidate from these sites and their potencies as inhibitors of [3H]3,4‐dihydroxyphenylethyl‐ amine ([3H]dopamine) uptake into striatal synaptosomes. A good correlation (r = 0.85; p < 0.001) was also observed between the potencies of a series of ritalinic acid esters in inhibiting [3H]threo‐(±)‐methylphenidate binding to striatal synaptosomal membranes and their potencies as motor stimulants in mice. These observations suggest that the binding sites for [3H]threo‐(±)‐methyl‐phenidate described here are associated with a dopamine uptake or transport complex, and that these sites may mediate the motor stimulant properties of ritalinic acid esters such as methylphenidate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1062-1070
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1985



  • Dopamine up
  • Striatum
  • [H]Threo‐ (±)‐methylphenidate‐Ritalinic acid
  • take stimulants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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