De Felice, Louis
Physiology and Biophysics
De Felice's laboratory focuses on serotonin (5HT), dopamine (DA) and norepinephrine (NE) transporters. Serotonin transporters (SERTs), dopamine transporters (DATs) and NE transporters (NETs) are integral membrane proteins composed of approximately 600 amino acids that likely form multimeric functional units.
Cocaine non-specifically inhibits 5HT, DA, and NE uptake, causing an increase in extracellular transmitter concentration, which accounts for the acute response to this drug. Antidepressants also block neurotransmitter transporters to prevent uptake; however, clinically prescribed drugs can be specific for a particular transporter, for example Prozac is specific for SERTs leading to elevated levels of 5HT. Unlike cocaine and antidepressants, the amphetamines and methamphetamines are taken up by neurons via SERT, DAT, and NET and cause an abnormal release of 5HT, DA and NE by vesicle fusion and reverse transport. Antidepressant, cocaine, amphetamine and methamphetamine interactions with these transporters account to a large extent for the therapeutic and abusive effects of these drugs in humans.
- Composition of 'bath salts' and and their potential effects on the brain
- Effects of illegal and prescription drugs on the brain including cocaine, antidepressants, amphetamines and methamphetamines
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