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Mol Pharmacol. 1995 Aug;48(2):280-7.

Characterization of (+/-)(-)[3H]epibatidine binding to nicotinic cholinergic receptors in rat and human brain.

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Department of Pharmacology, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, D. C. 20007, USA.


Epibatidine is an alkaloid that was first isolated from the skin of the Ecuadoran frog Epipedobates tricolor by Daly et al. [J. Am. Chem. Soc. 102:803-836 (1980)] and was found to have very high affinity for neuronal nicotinic receptors, where it acts as a potent agonist. Here we have measured and characterized the binding of (+/-)(-)[3H]epibatidine to nicotinic receptors in rat brain. In rat forebrain homogenates, (+/-)(-)[3H]epibatidine binds to two sites, with apparent affinities of 15 pM and 360 pM. Both of these binding sites have pharmacological profiles consistent with neuronal nicotinic receptors and a similar brain regional distribution. (+/-)(-)[3H]Epibatidine also binds to sites in rat adrenal gland, suggesting that it can label a subtype of nicotinic receptor found in peripheral ganglia as well as the subtype that predominates in brain. In human cerebral cortex as well, (+/-)(-)[3H]epibatidine binds two sites, one of which appears to have an affinity of < 1 pM. We conclude that (+/-)(-)[3H]epibatidine should be a very useful new tool for characterizing the properties and regulation of neuronal nicotinic receptors, including those not easily measurable with other radioligands.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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