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Br J Pharmacol. 2000 Mar;129(5):877-86.

Pharmacological characterization of human recombinant melatonin mt(1) and MT(2) receptors.

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Receptor Pharmacology Glaxo Wellcome Medicines Research Centre, Gunnels Wood Road, Stevenage, Herts, SG1 2NY.


We have pharmacologically characterized recombinant human mt(1) and MT(2) receptors, stably expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO-mt(1) and CHO-MT(2)), by measurement of [(3)H]-melatonin binding and forskolin-stimulated cyclic AMP (cAMP) production. [3H]-melatonin bound to mt(1) and MT(2) receptors with pK(D) values of 9.89 and 9.56 and B(max) values of 1.20 and 0.82 pmol mg(-1) protein, respectively. Whilst most melatonin receptor agonists had similar affinities for mt(1) and MT(2) receptors, a number of putative antagonists had substantially higher affinities for MT(2) receptors, including luzindole (11 fold), GR128107 (23 fold) and 4-P-PDOT (61 fold). In both CHO-mt(1) and CHO-MT(2) cells, melatonin inhibited forskolin-stimulated accumulation of cyclic AMP in a concentration-dependent manner (pIC(50) 9.53 and 9.74, respectively) causing 83 and 64% inhibition of cyclic AMP production at 100 nM, respectively. The potencies of a range of melatonin receptor agonists were determined. At MT(2) receptors, melatonin, 2-iodomelatonin and 6-chloromelatonin were essentially equipotent, whilst at the mt(1) receptor these agonists gave the rank order of potency of 2-iodomelatonin>melatonin>6-chloromelatonin. In both CHO-mt(1) and CHO-MT(2) cells, melatonin-induced inhibition of forskolin-stimulated cyclic AMP production was antagonized in a concentration-dependent manner by the melatonin receptor antagonist luzindole, with pA(2) values of 5.75 and 7.64, respectively. Melatonin-mediated responses were abolished by pre-treatment of cells with pertussis toxin, consistent with activation of G(i)/G(o) G-proteins. This is the first report of the use of [(3)H]-melatonin for the characterization of recombinant mt(1) and MT(2) receptors. Our results demonstrate that these receptor subtypes have distinct pharmacological profiles.

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