Unsurmountable antagonism of brain 5-hydroxytryptamine2 receptors by (+)-lysergic acid diethylamide and bromo-lysergic acid diethylamide

Mol Pharmacol. 1992 Nov;42(5):826-30.


Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and its structural analogue 2-bromo-lysergic acid diethylamide (BOL) act as unsurmountable antagonists of serotonin-elicited contractions in smooth muscle preparations. Two different models, allosteric and kinetic, have been invoked to explain these findings. The present studies investigate the mechanism of antagonism of brain 5-hydroxytryptamine (5HT)2 receptors, utilizing cells transfected with 5HT2 receptor cDNA cloned from rat brain. A proximal cellular response, phosphoinositide hydrolysis, was examined in order to minimize possible postreceptor effects. Even though LSD behaved as a partial agonist and BOL as a pure antagonist, both drugs blocked the effect of serotonin in an unsurmountable manner, i.e., increasing concentrations of serotonin could not overcome the blocking effect of LSD or BOL. Radioligand binding studies showed that preincubation of membranes with either LSD or BOL reduced the density of [3H]ketanserin binding sites, suggesting that the drugs bind tightly to the 5HT2 receptor and are not displaced during the binding assay. Two additional experiments supported this hypothesis. First, the off-rate of [3H] LSD was slow (20 min), relative to that of [3H]ketanserin (approximately 4 min). Second, when the length of incubation with [3H]ketanserin was increased to 60 min, the LSD-induced decrease in Bmax was essentially eliminated. The possibility that LSD and BOL decrease [3H]ketanserin binding by interacting with an allosteric site was rejected, because neither drug altered the rate of dissociation of [3H]ketanserin. The most parsimonious interpretation of these results is that unsurmountable antagonism reflects prolonged occupancy of the receptor by slowly reversible antagonists.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • DNA
  • Ketanserin / metabolism
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Radioligand Assay
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Serotonin / genetics
  • Serotonin Antagonists*
  • Transfection


  • Receptors, Serotonin
  • Serotonin Antagonists
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide
  • DNA
  • Ketanserin