Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology

, Volume 370, Issue 2, pp 114–123 | Cite as

Pharmacological characterisation of the agonist radioligand binding site of 5-HT2A, 5-HT2B and 5-HT2C receptors

  • Antony R. Knight
  • Anil Misra
  • Kathleen Quirk
  • Karen Benwell
  • Dean Revell
  • Guy Kennett
  • Mike Bickerdike
Original Article


In the present study we compared the affinity of various drugs for the high affinity “agonist-preferring” binding site of human recombinant 5-HT2A, 5-HT2B and 5-HT2C receptors stably expressed in monoclonal mammalian cell lines. To ensure that the “agonist-preferring” conformation of the receptor was preferentially labelled in competition binding experiments, saturation analysis was conducted using antagonist and agonist radiolabels at each receptor. Antagonist radiolabels ([3H]-ketanserin for 5-HT2A receptor and [3H]-mesulergine for 5-HT2B and 5-HT2C receptor) bound to a larger population of receptors in each preparation than the corresponding agonist radiolabel ([125I]-DOI for 5-HT2A receptor binding and [3H]-5-HT for 5-HT2B and 5-HT2C receptor binding). Competition experiments were subsequently conducted against appropriate concentrations of the agonist radiolabels bound to the “agonist-preferring” subset of receptors in each preparation. These studies confirmed that there are a number of highly selective antagonists available to investigate 5-HT2 receptor subtype function (for example, MDL 100907, RS-127445 and RS-102221 for 5-HT2A, 5-HT2B and 5-HT2C receptors respectively). There remains, however, a lack of highly selective agonists. (−)DOI is potent and moderately selective for 5-HT2A receptors, BW723C86 has poor selectivity for human 5-HT2B receptors, while Org 37684 and VER-3323 display some selectivity for the 5-HT2C receptor. We report for the first time in a single study, the selectivity of numerous serotonergic drugs for 5-HT2 receptors from the same species, in mammalian cell lines and using, exclusively, agonist radiolabels. The results indicate the importance of defining the selectivity of pharmacological tools, which may have been over-estimated in the past, and highlights the need to find more selective agonists to investigate 5-HT2 receptor pharmacology.


5-HT2A 5-HT2B 5-HT2C Agonist Radioligand Recombinant receptor 



The authors would like to acknowledge the assistance of Ms Sandra Binnie and the Vernalis Department of Tissue Culture for providing the cultured cells used in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antony R. Knight
    • 1
  • Anil Misra
    • 1
  • Kathleen Quirk
    • 2
  • Karen Benwell
    • 1
  • Dean Revell
    • 1
  • Guy Kennett
    • 1
  • Mike Bickerdike
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Vernalis ResearchOakdene CourtWokinghamUK
  2. 2.School of Animal and Microbial SciencesUniversity of ReadingReadingUK

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