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Keywords:

  • Melatonin;
  • mt1 receptor;
  • MT2 receptor;
  • [3H]-melatonin;
  • 2-[125I]-iodomelatonin;
  • receptor classification;
  • subtypes;
  • cyclic AMP;
  • luzindole
  • We have pharmacologically characterized recombinant human mt1 and MT2 receptors, stably expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO-mt1 and CHO-MT2), by measurement of [3H]-melatonin binding and forskolin-stimulated cyclic AMP (cAMP) production.

  • [3H]-melatonin bound to mt1 and MT2 receptors with pKD values of 9.89 and 9.56 and Bmax values of 1.20 and 0.82 pmol mg−1 protein, respectively. Whilst most melatonin receptor agonists had similar affinities for mt1 and MT2 receptors, a number of putative antagonists had substantially higher affinities for MT2 receptors, including luzindole (11 fold), GR128107 (23 fold) and 4-P-PDOT (61 fold).

  • In both CHO-mt1 and CHO-MT2 cells, melatonin inhibited forskolin-stimulated accumulation of cyclic AMP in a concentration-dependent manner (pIC50 9.53 and 9.74, respectively) causing 83 and 64% inhibition of cyclic AMP production at 100 nM, respectively. The potencies of a range of melatonin receptor agonists were determined. At MT2 receptors, melatonin, 2-iodomelatonin and 6-chloromelatonin were essentially equipotent, whilst at the mt1 receptor these agonists gave the rank order of potency of 2-iodomelatonin>melatonin>6-chloromelatonin.

  • In both CHO-mt1 and CHO-MT2 cells, melatonin-induced inhibition of forskolin-stimulated cyclic AMP production was antagonized in a concentration-dependent manner by the melatonin receptor antagonist luzindole, with pA2 values of 5.75 and 7.64, respectively. Melatonin-mediated responses were abolished by pre-treatment of cells with pertussis toxin, consistent with activation of Gi/Go G-proteins.

  • This is the first report of the use of [3H]-melatonin for the characterization of recombinant mt1 and MT2 receptors. Our results demonstrate that these receptor subtypes have distinct pharmacological profiles.

British Journal of Pharmacology (2000) 129, 877–886; doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0703130