Receptors for bradykinin and related kinins: a critical analysis

Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1993 Aug;71(8):556-67. doi: 10.1139/y93-079.


Kinins exert a variety of biological actions and have been implicated in the pathogenesis of inflammation, pain, asthma, and other diseases. Kinins act through specific receptors that are widespread and belong to two major categories, B1 and B2. B2 has been cloned and shown to be of the rhodopsin type, consisting of seven hydrophobic membrane domains connected by extracellular and intracellular loops. Recent pharmacological findings from various laboratories suggest the existence of new receptor types, which have been named B3, B4, and B5. These findings are analysed critically, especially with respect to the criteria that have been used for affirming the existence of new receptor entities. The analysis is restricted to data obtained in isolated organs, almost exclusively smooth muscle preparations. Criteria for receptor characterization and classification are the order of potency of agonists and the apparent affinities of antagonists. The analysis reveals that receptors for bradykinin and related kinins are of two types, B1 and B2. B1 mediates the rapid acute response (smooth muscle contraction or relaxation) as well as some effects occurring more slowly (e.g., collagen synthesis). B1 receptor functions have been shown to be modulated by interleukins. B2 receptors are responsible for most of the kinins' biological effects, including arterial vasodilatation, plasma extravasation, venoconstriction, activation of sensory fibers (e.g., fibers for pain), and stimulation of the release of prostaglandins, endothelium-dependent relaxing factor (from endothelia), noradrenaline (from nerve terminals and adrenals), and other endogenous agents. The pharmacological characteristics of the receptor sites (B2) mediating this array of biological effects show differences between species, and two B2 receptor subtypes are proposed, namely B2A (rabbit, dog, and possibly man) and B2B (guinea pig, hamster, rat). B2A and B2B receptor subtypes have been characterized by using fairly selective agonists and competitive antagonists (e.g., D-Arg[Hyp3, D-Phe7,Leu8]BK). Noncompetitive antagonists (non-equilibrium), such as HOE 140, do not discriminate between B2A and B2B subtypes. Species differences cannot account for the multiplicity of receptors that have been proposed for rat vas deferens, pre- and post-junctional sites, and rat uterus, guinea pig ileum, and rat blood pressure. The existence of hypothetical new receptor sites was based on data obtained with partial agonists and have not been substantiated by data obtained with potent pure antagonists. The B3 receptor, proposed to explain the unusual behaviour of the guinea pig tracheal response to kinins, has to be carefully reconsidered after the finding that HOE 140 acts as a pure antagonist on this tissue and shows a fairly high affinity for the tracheal site.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding, Competitive / physiology
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / drug effects
  • Kinins / pharmacology*
  • Receptors, Bradykinin / analysis*
  • Receptors, Bradykinin / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Species Specificity
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Kinins
  • Receptors, Bradykinin
  • GTP-Binding Proteins