Pharmacological characteristics of alpha 2-adrenergic receptors: comparison of pharmacologically defined subtypes with subtypes identified by molecular cloning

Mol Pharmacol. 1992 Jul;42(1):1-5.


On the basis of extensive radioligand data and more limited functional data, three pharmacological subtypes of alpha 2-adrenergic receptors have been identified. More recently, three human genes or cDNAs for alpha 2-adrenergic receptors have been identified by molecular cloning. The relationship, however, among the pharmacologically defined subtypes and those identified by molecular cloning has not been clear. In order to resolve this issue, we have compared the pharmacological characteristics of the receptors identified by molecular cloning and expressed in COS-7 cells with the characteristics of the pharmacologically defined receptors in their respective prototypic tissue or cell line. The affinities (Ki values) of 12 subtype-selective alpha 2-adrenergic antagonists were determined for the alpha 2 receptor in the six preparations, by radioligand binding. Correlation analyses of the pKi values indicate that the alpha 2A subtype, as defined in the HT29 cell line, the alpha 2B receptor of the neonatal rat lung, and the alpha 2C subtype, as defined in an oppossum kidney cell line, correspond to the cloned human alpha 2-C10, alpha 2-C2, and alpha 2-C4 receptor subtypes, respectively.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA
  • Humans
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Radioligand Assay
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha / classification
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha / drug effects
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha / genetics*
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha / metabolism
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha
  • DNA