Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Pharmaceutical Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Douglas H. Sweet


Numerous studies have demonstrated the impact of organic cation (OCTs; SLC22 family) and anion transporters (OATs; SLC22 family) on the efficacy and safety of clinically important therapeutics. To be specific, OCTs and OATs have been identified as determinants for uptake into and secretion from enterocytes, hepatocytes and renal proximal tubular cells, and are frequent sites of drug-drug interaction (DDI). In addition, OCTs expressed in brain are components of the low-affinity, high capacity clearance pathway (uptake-2) for biogenic monoamine neurotransmitters. As a result, OCTs may represent novel targets for mood disorders.

The inhibitory effects of several therapeutic agents, designed drugs and novel compounds were assessed on the function of OCTs/Octs and OATs/Oats. Among these compounds, the anthraquinone rhein showed significant inhibition on hOATs. While the antituberculosis drug ethambutol, the herbal products matrine and oxymatrine, synthetic cathinones, and all quinazoline and guanidine compounds produced significant inhibition on hOCT activity with most IC50 values in the micro- and even nanomolar ranges.

Considering the clinically relevant unbound concentrations in biofluids, significant DDI potentials were found for rhein, ethambutol, matrine, oxymatrine and several synthetic cathinones affecting enterocytes, hepatocytes and/or proximal tubules. As hOCT2 and hOCT3 may participate in modulating neurotransmitter homeostasis in the CNS, these findings also suggested that the CNS pharmacological effects of synthetic cathinones, quinazoline and guanidine compounds might be due to their inhibitory effects on OCTs; although their impact may be limited solely to clearance of these compounds. Based upon their in vitro OCT/Oct inhibition profiles, three lead quinazoline and guanidine compounds were chosen for in vivo studies. Potent antidepressant-like effects of one lead hOCT-interacting compound (KEO-099) were re-confirmed in the tail suspension test. While in vivo results of the two newly identified hOCT-interacting lead compounds were somewhat less clear.

Finally, homology modeling and docking studies for hOCT3 identified key amino acid residues that might be involved in interaction between hOCT3 and small molecules. Subsequent experiments confirmed a competitive mode of interaction between MPP+ and lead compounds on hOCT3. Thus, preliminary analysis indicates our hOCT3 homology model can be used to support rational drug design and high-throughput screening of novel hOCT substrates/inhibitors.


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Available for download on Wednesday, August 05, 2020