Neurochemical Research

, Volume 18, Issue 9, pp 1015–1022 | Cite as

2-Phenylethylamine-induced changes in catecholamine receptor density: Implications for antidepressant drug action

  • P. R. Paetsch
  • A. J. Greenshaw
Original Articles


It is now established that (1) concentrations of 2-phenylethylamine (PEA) are greatly increased in brain following administration of monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) antidepressants; (2) PEA is a metabolite of the MAOI antidepressant phenelzine; and (3) PEA may be a neuromodulator of catecholamine activity. On the basis of these observations, the effects of long term increases in brain PEA on catecholamine receptors have been assessed. Both PEA and antidepressants induced a reduction in the behavioural response to the β2 adrenoceptor agonist salbutamol. Radioligand binding measurements revealed that 28 day administration of PEA in combination with the type B MAOI (−)-deprenyl results in a decrease in the density of β1 adrenoceptors but not β2 adrenoceptors in rat cerebral cortex and cerebellum. (−)-Deprenyl alone also induced a significant decrease in β1-adrenoceptors but when PEA was added to this treatment there was a further decrease in β2-adrenoceptor density. Only changes in β1 adrenoceptor density were evident following 28 day administration of MAOI antidepressants. PEA also induced a decrease in the density of D1-like dopamine (DA) receptors in the rat striatum. MAOI antidepressants induced a decrease in the density of both D1-like and D2-like DA receptors. These data are discussed in terms of a possible role of PEA-catecholamine interactions in antidepressant drug action.

Key Words

2-Phenylethylamine β-adrenoceptors salbutamol dopamine receptors MAO tricyclics antidepressants 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. R. Paetsch
    • 1
  • A. J. Greenshaw
    • 1
  1. 1.Neurochemical Research Unit, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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