Inhibition of vesicular uptake of monoamines by hyperforin

Netta Roz, Yehuda Mazur, Amiram Hirshfeld, Moshe Rehavi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hyperforin is the major active ingredient of Hypericum perforatum (St John's Wort), a traditional antidepressant medication. This study evaluated its inhibitory effects on the synaptic uptake of monoamines in rat forebrain homogenates, comparing the nature of the inhibition at synaptic and vesicular monoamine transporters. A hyperforin-rich extract inhibited with equal potencies the sodium-dependent uptake of the monoamine neurotransmitters serotonin [5-HT], dopamine [DA] and norepinephrine [NE] into rat brain synaptosomes. Hyperforin inhibited the uptake of all three monoamines noncompetitively, in marked contrast with the competitive inhibition exerted by fluoxetine, GBR12909 or desipramine on the uptake of these monoamines. Hyperforin had no inhibitory effect on the binding of [3H]paroxetine, [3H]GBR12935 and [3H]nisoxetine to membrane presynaptic transporters for 5-HT, DA and NE, respectively. The apparent presynaptic inhibition of monoamine uptake could reflect a "reserpine-like mechanism" by which hyperforin induced release of neurotransmitters from synaptic vesicles into the cytoplasm. Thus, we assessed the effects of hyperforin on the vesicular monoamine transporter. Hyperforin inhibited with equal potencies the uptake of the three tritiated monoamines to rat brain synaptic vesicles. Similarly to the synaptosomal uptake, the vesicular uptake was also noncompetitively inhibited by hyperforin. Notably, hyperforin did not affect the direct binding on [3H]dihydrotetrabenazine, a selective vesicular monoamine transporter ligand, to rat forebrain membranes. Our results support the notion that hyperforin interferes with the storage of monoamines in synaptic vesicles, rather than being a selective inhibitor of either synaptic membrane or vesicular monoamine transporters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2227-2237
Number of pages11
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number19
StatePublished - 27 Sep 2002


  • Dopamine
  • Hyperforin
  • Hypericum perforatum
  • Norepinephrine
  • Serotonin
  • Vesicular monoamine transporter


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