Role of dopamine transporter (DAT) in dopamine transport across the nasal mucosa

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Dopamine is a catecholamine neurotransmitter necessary for motor functions. Its deficiency has been observed in several neurological disorders, but replacement of endogenous dopamine via oral or parenteral delivery is limited by poor absorption, rapid metabolism and the inability of dopamine to cross the blood-brain barrier. The intranasal administration of dopamine, however, has resulted in improved central nervous system (CNS) bioavailability compared to that obtained following intravenous delivery. Portions of the nasal mucosa are innervated by olfactory neurons expressing dopamine transporter (DAT) which is responsible for the uptake of dopamine within the central nervous system. The objective of these studies was to study the role of DAT in dopamine transport across the bovine olfactory and nasal respiratory mucosa. Western blotting studies demonstrated the expression of DAT and immunohistochemistry revealed its epithelial and submucosal localization within the nasal mucosa. Bidirectional transport studies over a 0.1–1 mM dopamine concentration range were carried out in the mucosal–submucosal and submucosal–mucosal directions to quantify DAT activity, and additional transport studies investigating the ability of GBR 12909, a DAT inhibitor, to decrease dopamine transport were conducted. Dopamine transport in the mucosal–submucosal direction was saturable and was decreased in the presence of GBR 12909. These studies demonstrate the activity of DAT in the nasal mucosa and provide evidence that DAT-mediated dopamine uptake plays a role in the absorption and distribution of dopamine following intranasal administration.

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