Spare receptors and intrinsic activity: studies with D1 dopamine receptor agonists

V J WattsRichard B Mailman


The intrinsic activities of selected dopamine D1 receptor agonists were compared in three distinct molecular expression systems, C-6, Ltk, and GH4 cells transfected with primate D1A receptors. The influence of the cell expression system on intrinsic activity varied markedly among agonists. Dihydrexidine (DHX), a potent full agonist with dramatic antiparkinsonian actions, displayed intrinsic activity similar to dopamine in all three cell lines. In contrast, SKF82958 and SKF38393 (full and partial agonists, respectively, in rat striatum) had intrinsic activities equal to dopamine in GH4 cells that expressed a high density of D1 receptors, yet were of lower intrinsic activity in C-6 cells having 15-fold fewer receptors. The idea that spare receptors are one important determinant of observed intrinsic activity was explored directly by "receptor titration," in which ca. 90% of D1 receptors in Ltk cells were inactivated using EEDQ, an irreversible antagonist. Whereas EEDQ pretreatment decreased the potency of all agonists, it changed the intrinsic activity of some, but not all, drugs. A 40% decrease was seen with the partial agonist SKF38393, and, surprisingly, a 30% decrease was seen with the purported full agonist SKF82958. Convers...Continue Reading


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