Author(s): Blakely RD
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Abstract The plasma membrane transporters that clear extracellular serotonin (5-HT) and norepinephrine (NE), serotonin transporters (SERTs) and NE transporters (NETs), have received considerable attention over the past four decades because of their roles in amine neurotransmitter inactivation. In addition, they interact with many centrally active drugs, including multiple classes of antidepressants such as the serotonin-selective reuptake inhibitors, typified by fluoxetine (Prozac), and the more recently developed norepinephrine-selective transporter antagonists, such as reboxetine. The therapeutic utility of these agents supports biogenic amine theories of affective disorders and raises the question as to whether SERT and NET exhibit a functional genetic variation that could influence risk for behavioral disorders. Although evidence exists that a promoter polymorphism in SERT may influence behavioral states, this contention is not without complexity and its mechanism of action remains poorly understood. The identification of coding variants of NETs and SERTs would offer important opportunities to connect genotype to phenotype. However, given the limited frequency of transporter coding variations evident to date in general population surveys or in psychiatric genetic studies, the identification of informative functional variants of transporters will likely require refined phenotypes. In this regard, NET and SERT play critical roles in cardiovascular and gastrointestinal physiology, respectively. This perspective reviews recent human and mouse studies that suggest how peripheral autonomic phenotypes, linked to genetic disruption of NET and SERT function, can aid in the phenotypic segregation needed for advanced theories of biogenic amine dysfunction and pharmacogenetics.
This article was published in J Neurosci
and referenced in International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation