Amphetamine-induced dopamine efflux: A voltage-sensitive and intracellular Na+-dependent mechanism

Habibeh Khoshbouei, Hongwei Wang, James D. Lechleiter, Jonathan A. Javitch, Aurelio Galli

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162 Scopus citations


Amphetamine (AMPH) elicits its behavioral effects by acting on the dopamine (DA) transporter (DAT) to induce DA overflow into the synaptic cleft. Facilitated exchange diffusion is the classical model used to describe AMPH-induced DA efflux. This model hypothesizes that AMPH-induced DA efflux is mediated by DAT and results from the transport of AMPH into the cell followed by a counter movement of DA out to the extracellular compartment. To further characterize the action of AMPH, we used the patch clamp technique in the whole-cell configuration combined with amperometry on human embryonic kidney HEK-293 cells stably transfected with the human DAT (DAT cells). In DAT cells, AMPH-induced DAT-mediated currents were blocked by cocaine. We demonstrate that DA efflux mediated by DAT is voltage-dependent, electrogenic, and dependent on intracellular Na+ concentration in the recording electrode. Intracellular Na+ fluorescence, as measured by confocal microscopy using a Na+-sensitive dye, was enhanced by AMPH application. Furthermore, the ability of AMPH to induce DA efflux was regulated by intracellular Na+ concentration and correlated with the size of the DAT-mediated, AMPH-induced ion flux across the plasma membrane. In the absence of intracellular Na+ but the presence of high intracellular Cl-, AMPH-induced inward currents elicited DA efflux proportionally to their dimension and duration. Thus, we propose that AMPH-induced DA efflux depends on two correlated transporter processes. First, AMPH binds to the DAT and is transported, thereby causing an inward current. Second, because of this AMPH-induced inward current, Na+ becomes more available intracellularly to the DAT, thereby enhancing DAT-mediated reverse transport of DA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12070-12077
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 4 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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