Lack of specificity of commercially available antisera against muscarinergic and adrenergic receptors

Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2009 Apr;379(4):397-402. doi: 10.1007/s00210-009-0393-0. Epub 2009 Feb 7.


Commercially available antisera against five subtypes of muscarinic receptors and nine subtypes of adrenoceptors showed highly distinct immunohistochemical staining patterns in rat ureter and stomach. However, using the M(1-4) muscarinic receptor subtypes and alpha(2B)-, beta(2)-, and beta(3)-adrenoceptors as examples, Western blots with membranes prepared from cell lines stably expressing various subtypes of muscarinic receptors or adrenoceptors revealed that each of the antisera recognized a set of proteins that differed between the cell lines used but lacked specificity for the claimed target receptor. We propose that receptor antibodies need better validation before they can reliably be used.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Antibody Specificity / immunology*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Cell Line
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Immune Sera / immunology*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Adrenergic / analysis*
  • Receptors, Adrenergic / genetics
  • Receptors, Adrenergic / immunology*
  • Receptors, Muscarinic / analysis*
  • Receptors, Muscarinic / genetics
  • Receptors, Muscarinic / immunology*
  • Transfection
  • Urinary Tract / chemistry


  • Antibodies
  • Immune Sera
  • Receptors, Adrenergic
  • Receptors, Muscarinic