Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Physiology and Biophysics

First Advisor

Jose Eltit, Ph.D.


Cathinones are psychostimulant compounds heavily implicated as drugs of abuse. They exert their physiological actions at the monoamine transporters, which are responsible for maintaining synaptic neurotransmitter homeostasis. Monoamine transporters produce currents during transport and have been shown to depolarize cell membranes and activate voltage-gated calcium channels in mammalian expression systems. This phenomenon is harnessed in an assay which measures these induced calcium transients, allowing for quantification of pharmacodynamic effects of compounds at monoamine transporters. It is unknown if this electrical coupling occurs in neurons, but the implications if it does are significant. In the current work, fluorescent resonance energy transfer studies of HEK cells expressing hDAT suggest that a subpopulation of monoamine transporters and calcium channels may be interacting directly. Additionally, this work presents calcium assay data comparing several novel methcathinone analogs. Of the compounds tested, a single α-methyl substituent at the α-carbon yields the greatest potency at hDAT. The implications of these results shed light on future psychostimulant studies and further define the physiological relationship of the components of a system used to study these compounds.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission


Available for download on Sunday, July 16, 2023