Release of Neurotransmitters from the Brain in Vivo by Amphetamine, Methylphenidate and Cocaine

  • K. E. Moore
  • C. C. Chiueh
  • G. Zeldes
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 21)


During the past 15 years the results of indirect in vivo and direct in vitro studies suggest that a variety of central stimulant drugs exert their characteristic pharmacological effects by interacting with aminergic neuronal systems in the brain. Early behavioral and biochemical experiments indicated that amphetamines exerted central stimulant actions by releasing norepinephrine (Stein, 1964; Carr and Moore, 1969), but more recent studies suggest that the release of dopamine is more important for many of the central actions of this drug (e.g., Carlsson, 1970; Thornburg and Moore, 1937b; Hollister, Breese, and Cooper, 1974). Since the central stimulation of amphetamine is blocked by α-methyltyrosine but not by reserpine (Rech, 1964; Smith, 1965; Weissman, Koe, and Tenen, 1966), it has been postulated that amphetamine acts by preferentially releasing dopamine from a newly synthesized pool of this amine in the nerve terminals. On the other hand, the central stimulant actions of methylphenidate and cocaine are reduced by reserpine pretreatment but not by α-methyltyrosine (van Rossum, van der Schoot, and Hurkmans, 1962; Scheel-Krüger, 1971; Simon, Sultan, Chermat, and Boissier, 1972) suggesting that the actions of these two stimulants are dependent upon a storage or reserpine-sensitive pool of brain catecholamines. There has been less interest in the interactions of these central stimulants with 5-hydroxytryptamine (5HT) neuronal systems, but recent behavioral-biochemical studies (Green and Harvey, 1974; Breese, Cooper, and Mueller, 1974) suggest that tryptaminergic neurons exert an inhibitory action on amphetamine stimulation; there are few reports on the interactions of cocaine or methylphenidate with 5HT neurons.


Tyrosine Hydroxylase Caudate Nucleus Nigrostriatal Pathway Central Stimulant Brain Catecholamine 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. E. Moore
    • 1
  • C. C. Chiueh
    • 1
  • G. Zeldes
    • 1
  1. 1.Michigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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