Plasma membrane monoamine transporter (PMAT, Slc29a4) transports monoamine neurotransmitters, including dopamine and serotonin, faster than more studied monoamine transporters, e.g., dopamine transporter (DAT), or serotonin transporter (SERT), but with ~400–600-fold less affinity. A considerable challenge in understanding PMAT’s monoamine clearance contributions is that no current drugs selectively inhibit PMAT. To advance knowledge about PMAT’s monoamine uptake role, and to circumvent this present challenge, we investigated how drugs that selectively block DAT/SERT influence behavioral readouts in PMAT wildtype, heterozygote, and knockout mice of both sexes. Drugs typically used as antidepressants (escitalopram, bupropion) were administered acutely for readouts in tail suspension and locomotor tests. Drugs with psychostimulant properties (cocaine, D-amphetamine) were administered repeatedly to assess initial locomotor responses plus psychostimulant-induced locomotor sensitization. Though we hypothesized that PMAT-deficient mice would exhibit augmented responses to antidepressant and psychostimulant drugs due to constitutively attenuated monoamine uptake, we instead observed sex-selective responses to antidepressant drugs in opposing directions, and subtle sex-specific reductions in psychostimulant-induced locomotor sensitization. These results suggest that PMAT functions differently across sexes, and support hypotheses that PMAT’s monoamine clearance contribution emerges when frontline transporters (e.g., DAT, SERT) are absent, saturated, and/or blocked. Thus, known human polymorphisms that reduce PMAT function could be worth investigating as contributors to varied antidepressant and psychostimulant responses.
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