Characterization of muscarinic agonists in recombinant cell lines

Life Sci. 1993;52(5-6):465-72. doi: 10.1016/0024-3205(93)90303-k.


Using recombinant CHO cells that express Hm1-Hm5 receptors, reference muscarinic agonists have been characterized with respect to their activity in receptor binding and second messenger assays. In whole cell [3H]-N-methyl scopolamine binding, no agonist was found to be truly subtype selective, although some showed marked differences between several of the subtypes (e.g. m1 vs. m2). As a functional index of receptor activation, phosphatidyl-inositol (PI) turnover was measured for m1, m3, and m5 receptors while inhibition of forskolin-stimulated cAMP accumulation was measured for m2 and m4 receptors. Both full and partial agonists were delineated in PI turnover, but all agonists showed similar responses on cAMP. Alkylation studies with propylbenzylcholine mustard showed that both efficacy and potency were markedly affected in the functional assays by the number of free receptors. Thus, receptor reserve appears to play a major role in the determination of subtype selectivity for agonists using functional measures. Even with these limitations, however, the use of transformed cell lines is playing a pivotal role in the discovery of selective agonists.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CHO Cells
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Colforsin / pharmacology
  • Cricetinae
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism
  • N-Methylscopolamine
  • Parasympatholytics / metabolism
  • Parasympathomimetics / metabolism*
  • Phosphatidylinositols / metabolism
  • Receptors, Muscarinic / metabolism*
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Scopolamine Derivatives / metabolism


  • Parasympatholytics
  • Parasympathomimetics
  • Phosphatidylinositols
  • Receptors, Muscarinic
  • Scopolamine Derivatives
  • Colforsin
  • Cyclic AMP
  • N-Methylscopolamine