Muscarinic receptors--characterization, coupling and function

Pharmacol Ther. 1993 Jun;58(3):319-79. doi: 10.1016/0163-7258(93)90027-b.


At least five muscarinic receptor genes have been cloned and expressed. Muscarinic receptors act via activation of G proteins: m1, m3 and m5 muscarinic receptors couple to stimulate phospholipase C, while m2 and m4 muscarinic receptors inhibit adenylyl cyclase. This review describes the localization, pharmacology and function of the five muscarinic receptor subtypes. The actions of muscarinic receptors on the heart, smooth muscle, glands and on neurons (both presynaptic and postsynaptic) in the autonomic nervous system and the central nervous system are analyzed in terms of subtypes, biochemical mechanisms and effects on ion channels, including K+ channels and Ca2+ channels.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenylyl Cyclases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / physiology
  • Phosphatidylinositols / metabolism
  • Receptors, Muscarinic / drug effects
  • Receptors, Muscarinic / genetics
  • Receptors, Muscarinic / metabolism
  • Receptors, Muscarinic / physiology*
  • Type C Phospholipases / metabolism


  • Ion Channels
  • Phosphatidylinositols
  • Receptors, Muscarinic
  • Type C Phospholipases
  • GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Adenylyl Cyclases