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Assay Drug Dev Technol. 2005 Dec;3(6):649-59.

Development of homogeneous high-affinity agonist binding assays for 5-HT2 receptor subtypes.

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Athersys, Inc., Cleveland, OH 44115, USA.


The serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) 5-HT2 receptor subfamily consists of three members, 5-HT2A, 5-HT2B, and 5-HT2C. These receptors share high homology in their amino acid sequence, have similar signaling pathways, and have been indicated to play important roles in feeding, anxiety, aggression, sexual behavior, mood, and pain. Subtype-selective agonists and antagonists have been explored as drugs for hypertension, Parkinson's disease, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and obesity. In this study, we report the development of homogeneous agonist binding assays in a scintillation proximity assay (SPA) format to determine the high-affinity binding state of agonist compounds for the human 5-HT2C, 5-HT2A, and 5-HT2B receptors. The 5-HT2 agonist 1-(4- [125I]iodo-2,5-dimethoxyphenyl)-2-aminopropane ([125I]DOI) was used to label the high-affinity sites for the 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C receptors. The high-affinity sites for the 5-HT2B receptor were labeled with [3H]lysergic acid diethylamide. Total receptor expression was determined with the 5-HT2 antagonist [3H]mesulergine for the 5-HT2B and 5-HT2C receptors, and [3H]ketanserin for the 5-HT2A receptor. The agonist high-affinity binding sites accounted for 2.3% (5-HT(2C) receptor), 4.0% (5-HT2A receptor), and 22% (5-HT2B receptor) of the total receptor population. Competition binding studies using known agonists indicated high Z' values of the agonist binding assays in SPA format (Z' > 0.70). The Ki values of 5-HT, (R)(-)DOI, and VER-3323 for the 5-HT2A, 5-HT2B, and 5-HT2C receptors by SPA format were equivalent to published data determined by filtration binding assays. These results indicate that agonist binding assays in SPA format can be easily adapted to a high throughput assay to screen for selective 5-HT2C receptor agonists, as well as for selectivity profiling of the compounds.

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