Our series of pharmacological studies on canine narcolepsy has suggested that the adrenergic systems are more critically involved in the regulation of cataplexy than the serotonergic and dopaminergic systems. This, however, is an apparent contradiction to data obtained in human patients, which show that chronic oral administration of serotonergic uptake inhibitors, such as clomipramine, zimelidine and fluoxetine, is effective in reducing cataplexy. To explore this discrepancy, we have assessed the anticataplectic effects of various serotonergic uptake inhibitors and their active desmethyl metabolites on canine cataplexy. We found that the anticataplectic effect of the desmethyl metabolites, which are usually more potent for in vitro adrenergic uptake inhibition, was more potent and developed more rapidly than the effect of the parent compounds. Furthermore, the anticataplectic potency was positively correlated to the adrenergic uptake inhibition and was negatively correlated with serotonergic uptake inhibition among the 10 compounds tested. These results are consistent with our hypothesis of a preferential involvement of the adrenergic system in the control of cataplexy. Our results also suggest that the anticataplectic effect of "selective" serotonergic uptake inhibitors in human narcolepsy might be mediated by their less selective active metabolites.
View details for Web of Science ID A1993MV96900004
View details for PubMedID 8165384