Immunodetection and subcellular distribution of imidazoline receptor proteins with three antibodies in mouse and human brains: Effects of treatments with I1- and I2-imidazoline drugs

J Psychopharmacol. 2015 Sep;29(9):996-1012. doi: 10.1177/0269881115586936. Epub 2015 Jun 2.


Various imidazoline receptor (IR) proteins have been proposed to mediate the effects of selective I1- and I2-IR drugs. However, the association of these IR-binding proteins with classic I1- and I2-radioligand binding sites remains somewhat controversial. In this study, three IR antibodies (anti-NISCH and anti-nischarin for I1-IRs; and anti-IRBP for I1/I2-IRs) were used to immunodetect, characterize and compare IR protein patterns in brain (mouse and human; total homogenate, subcellular fractionation, grey and white matter) and some cell systems (neurones, astrocytes, human platelets). Various immunoreactive IRs (specific molecular weight bands coincidently detected with the different antibodies) were related to I1-IR (167 kDa, 105/115 kDa and 85 kDa proteins) or I2-IR (66 kDa, 45 kDa and 30 kDa proteins) types. The biochemical characterization of cortical 167 kDa protein, localized in the membrane/cytosol but not in the nucleus, indicated that this I1-IR also forms part of higher order nischarin-related complexes. The contents of I1-IR (167 kDa, 105/115 kDa, and 85 kDa) proteins in mouse brain cortex were upregulated by treatment with I1-drugs (moxonidine, efaroxan) but not with I2-drugs (BU-224, LSL 61122). Conversely, the contents of I2-IR (66 kDa, 45 kDa and 30 kDa) proteins in mouse brain cortex were modulated by treatment with I2-drugs (decreases after BU-224 and LSL 61122, and increases after idazoxan) but not with I1-drugs (with the exception of moxonidine). These findings further indicate that brain immunoreactive IR proteins exist in multiple forms that can be grouped in the already known I1- and I2-IR types, which are expressed both in neurones and astrocytes.

Keywords: Imidazoline receptors; human platelets; mouse and human brains; neuron and astrocyte cells; treatments with I1-and I2-drugs in mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antibodies / metabolism*
  • Benzofurans / pharmacology
  • Binding Sites
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cytosol / drug effects
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Idazoxan / pharmacology
  • Imidazoles / pharmacology
  • Imidazoline Receptors / metabolism*
  • Imidazolines / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Styrenes / pharmacology
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects


  • 2-styryl-2-imidazoline
  • Antibodies
  • BU 224
  • Benzofurans
  • Imidazoles
  • Imidazoline Receptors
  • Imidazolines
  • Styrenes
  • imidazoline I1 receptors
  • imidazoline receptor 2
  • moxonidine
  • efaroxan
  • Idazoxan