In the central nervous, system, vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2) is the only transporter that moves cytoplasmic dopamine (DA) into synaptic vesicles for storage and subsequent exocytotic release. Pharmacologically enhancing DA sequenstration by VMAT2, and thus preventing the oxidation of DA in the cytoplasm, may be a strategy for treating diseases such as Parkinson's disease. VMAT2 may also be a novel target for the development of treatments for psychostimulant abuse. This review summarizes the possible role of VMAT2 as a therapeutic target, VMAT2 ligands reported in the literature, and the structure-activity relationship of these ligands, including tetrabenazine analogs, ketanserin analogs, lobeline analogs, and 3-amine-2-phenylpropene analogs. The molecular structure of VMAT2 and its relevance to ligand binding are briefly discussed.
Keywords: vesicular monoamine transporter 2, Parkinson's disease, psychostimulant abuse, tetrabenazine, ketanserin, lobeline