We investigated the biochemical and pharmacological properties of a new adenosine A(3) receptor antagonist, KF26777 (2-(4-bromophenyl)-7,8-dihydro-4-propyl-1H-imidazo[2,1-i]purin-5(4H)-one dihydrochloride). This compound was characterized using N(6)-(4-amino-3-iodobenzyl)adenosine-5'-N-methyluronamide ([125I]AB-MECA) or [35S]guanosine 5'-O-(3-thiotriphosphate) (GTPgammaS) binding to membranes from human embryonic kidney 293 (HEK293) cells expressing human adenosine A(3) receptors. KF26777 showed a K(i) value of 0.20+/-0.038 nM for human adenosine A(3) receptors labeled with [125I]AB-MECA and possessed 9000-, 2350- and 3100-fold selectivity vs. human adenosine A(1), A(2A) and A(2B) receptors, respectively. The inhibitory mode of binding was competitive. KF26777 inhibited the binding of [35S]GTPgammaS stimulated by 1 microM 2-chloro-N(6)-(3-iodobenzyl)adenosine-5'-N-methyluronamide (Cl-IB-MECA). The IC(50) value was 270+/-85 nM; the compound had no effect on basal activity. Dexamethasone treatment for HL-60 cells, human promyelocytic leukemia, up-regulated functional adenosine A(3) receptors expression, and resulted in the enhanced elevation of intracellular Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)) via the adenosine A(3) receptor. KF26777 antagonized this [Ca(2+)](i) mobilization induced by Cl-IB-MECA, with a K(B) value of 0.42+/-0.14 nM. These results indicate that KF26777 is a highly potent and selective antagonist of the human adenosine A(3) receptor.