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J Neurochem. 1992 May;58(5):1589-601.

Biochemical, physiological, and pathological aspects of the peripheral benzodiazepine receptor.

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Rappapport Family Institute for Research in the Medical Sciences, Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel.


The PBR is a mitochondrial protein composed of at least two subunits, an approximately 30-kDa subunit that contains the site for BZs and an approximately 18-kDa subunit that binds isoquinoline carboxamide derivatives. Porphyrins and diazepam binding inhibitor are putative endogenous ligands for these receptors, which are under neural and hormonal control. Alterations in the density of PBR seem to be a sensitive indicator of stress: up-regulation after acute stress and down-regulation induced by repeated stress. PBR-specific ligands are involved in the control of cell proliferation and differentiation, and their binding is increased in some cancer tumors. Numerous studies in various endocrine organs have revealed that PBR are located in specific regions or tissues in the organs. Furthermore, PBR densities in various organs subject to hormonal control are regulated by organotropic hormones. At least in some cases, BZ ligands do not exert a specific effect in an organ, but rather modulate the well-documented effects of that particular hormone. To the best of our knowledge, BZ ligand action in peripheral tissues is dependent on recognition of PBR, which may suggest a receptor-mediated action.

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