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Mol Pharmacol. 1989 Nov;36(5):758-65.

Ifenprodil is a novel type of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist: interaction with polyamines.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261.


We have investigated the interactions of polyamines and the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist ifenprodil with the binding of [3H]MK801 to the NMDA receptor. Spermine and spermidine but not putrescine substantially increase [3H]MK801 binding to well washed rat brain membranes in the absence or presence of saturating concentrations of glutamate and glycine. Spermine also increased the association and dissociation of [3H]MK801 from its binding site, suggesting that polyamines activate the NMDA receptor in a similar manner to glycine. Ifenprodil inhibited the binding of [3H]MK801 in a biphasic fashion. The high affinity phase of binding (Ki of approximately 15 nM) accounted for 50-60% of total [3H]MK801 binding in the nominal absence of glutamate, glycine, and polyamines or in the presence of 100 microM glutamate. This fraction was reduced to 20% by the addition of 30 microM glycine and could be abolished by the addition of 50 microM spermine. However, ifenprodil apparently did not act by binding to the polyamine recognition site. The low affinity phase (Ki of 20-40 microM) was insensitive to the presence of positive modulators and may represent binding to the Zn2+ regulatory site. Ifenprodil decreased NMDA and glycine-induced Ca2+ influx into cultured rat brain neurons. The potency of ifenprodil suggests that spermine may activate NMDA receptors in vivo. These data indicate that ifenprodil may bind to the NMDA receptor in a state-dependent fashion and preferentially stabilize an inactivated form of the channel.

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