The first evidence of an active transport of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) came from pioneer studies in the late 1950s showing an uptake of 5-HT into the blood platelets from rabbit or guinea pig. A few years later, a similar mechanism was observed in the rat brain (Schanberg 1963). The mechanism of this transport, involving the sodium and potassium ionic gradients, was rapidly elucidated, and the existence of a dedicated transporter protein postulated. In addition, the antidepressant imipramine was shown to bind to this putative transporter to reduce 5-HT uptake into the blood platelet, and, therefore, the serotonin transporter was named the “serotonin transporter-imipramine receptor.” Using the binding properties of imipramine to the serotonin transporter, Jane Talvenheimo and Gary Rudnick have purified the transporter...
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