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Biochem Pharmacol. 1996 Aug 23;52(4):511-8.

Aminotetralin drugs and D3 receptor functions. What may partially selective D3 receptor ligands tell us about dopamine D3 receptor functions?

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Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Laval University, Cité Universitaire, Québec, Canada.


The dopamine D3 receptor gene was identified by Sokoloff and colleagues in 1990. This finding rapidly gained the interest of the scientific community because this unexpected dopamine receptor subtype may play an important role in the antipsychotic activity of neuroleptic drugs. It recognizes most neuroleptics with a high affinity, and its brain distribution is restricted mainly to the ventral part of the striatal complex. However, the characterization and the subsequent identification of functions of the D3 receptor were hampered initially by at least four important factors that are still partially unresolved: (1) the absence of selective drugs that can discriminate between the D2 and D3 receptor subtype functions in vivo, (2) the lack of apparent coupling with GTP-dependent proteins, (3) the absence of effects on second messenger systems, and (4) the low level of expression of this receptor in brain tissue; these factors have contributed to tempering the interest of scientists. However, this situation has begun to change with the identification of [3H]7-hydroxy-N,N-(di-n-propyl)-2-aminotetralin ([3H]7-OH-DPAT), the first selective ligand for the dopamine D3 receptor. Although its binding selectivity for the D3 versus the D2 receptor is somewhat artificial, the potentially important impact of identification of a function for the D3 receptor encouraged scientists to use this aminotetralin compound for in vivo studies with, however, limited success. This commentary is focused on the impact and controversies generated by the use of 7-OH-DPAT and its congeners, on new conceptual views that may arise from this research, and on what partially selective D3 receptor ligands may tell us about dopamine D3 receptor functions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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