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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1997 Dec;283(3):1285-92.

Ro 25-6981, a highly potent and selective blocker of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors containing the NR2B subunit. Characterization in vitro.

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Pharma Division, Preclinical CNS Research, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd., CH-4070 Basel, Switzerland.


The interaction of Ro 25-6981 with N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors was characterized by a variety of different tests in vitro. Ro 25-6981 inhibited 3H-MK-801 binding to rat forebrain membranes in a biphasic manner with IC50 values of 0.003 microM and 149 microM for high- (about 60%) and low-affinity sites, respectively. NMDA receptor subtypes expressed in Xenopus oocytes were blocked with IC50 values of 0.009 microM and 52 microM for the subunit combinations NR1C & NR2B and NR1C & NR2A, respectively, which indicated a >5000-fold selectivity. Like ifenprodil, Ro 25-6981 blocked NMDA receptor subtypes in an activity-dependent manner. Ro 25-6981 protected cultured cortical neurons against glutamate toxicity (16 h exposure to 300 microM glutamate) and combined oxygen and glucose deprivation (60 min followed by 20 h recovery) with IC50 values of 0.4 microM and 0.04 microM, respectively. Ro 25-6981 was more potent than ifenprodil in all of these tests. It showed no protection against kainate toxicity (exposure to 500 microM for 20 h) and only weak activity in blocking Na+ and Ca++ channels, activated by exposure of cortical neurons to veratridine (10 microM) and potassium (50 mM), respectively. These findings demonstrate that Ro 25-6981 is a highly selective, activity-dependent blocker of NMDA receptors that contain the NR2B subunit.

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