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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1998 Dec;287(3):918-25.

Analysis of 3-(4-hydroxy, 2-Methoxybenzylidene)anabaseine selectivity and activity at human and rat alpha-7 nicotinic receptors.

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Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA.


3-(2,4-dimethoxybenzylidene)anabaseine (GTS-21) is a selective partial agonist for rat alpha-7 nicotine receptors with reportedly much lower efficacy for human alpha-7 receptors. Because this drug improves memory-related performance in nonhuman primates, and is presently in a clinical trial for Alzheimer's disease, we investigated the potential effects of its primary human metabolite, 3-(4-hydroxy, 2-methoxy-benzylidene)anabaseine) on human as well as rat nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. 4OH-GTS-21 exhibited a similar level of efficacy for both rat and human alpha-7 receptors expressed in Xenopus oocytes. It displaced high affinity [125I]alpha-bungarotoxin binding to human SK-N-SH cell-membranes (Ki 0.17 microM) and rat PC12 cell-membranes (Ki 0.45 microM). GTS-21 also displaced [125I]alpha-bungarotoxin binding to PC12 cell membranes with high potency (Ki 0.31 microM), but was much less potent in this regard in SK-N-SH cells (23 microM). 4OH-GTS-21 produced less residual inhibition of either the human or rat AChR subtypes than GTS-21 did. To compare the neuroprotective efficacies of GTS-21 and 4OH-GTS-21 in both species, an amyloid-toxicity model (Abeta 25-35) was used. 4OH-GTS-21 was protective in both human and rat cell lines, although GTS-21 was effective only in the latter. These studies suggest that the efficacy of GTS-21 in primates may depend on a pro-drug function.

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