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Review
, 36, 511-44

Imidazoline Receptors and Their Endogenous Ligands

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Review

Imidazoline Receptors and Their Endogenous Ligands

S Regunathan et al. Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol.

Abstract

Imidazoline (I) receptors constitute a family of nonadrenergic high-affinity binding sites for clonidine, idazoxan, and allied drugs. One major subclass, the I1 receptors, whose subcellular distribution and signal transduction mechanisms are uncertain, partly mediates the central hypotensive actions of clonidine-like drugs. The I2 receptors, another subclass, are mitochondrial, not G protein coupled, and have diversified functions. Several endogenous ligands for I receptors, collectively termed clonidine-displacing substances (CDSs), have been detected in tissues and serum, but the structure of only one, agmatine (decarboxylated arginine), is known. Agmatine, widely distributed and bioactive, binds, like clonidine, to alpha 2-adrenergic and I receptors of all subclasses. The presence of agmatine and its biosynthetic enzyme in synaptosomes and specific neuronal pathways as well as serum suggests that it may be a novel neurotransmitter/hormone. Another CDS that binds to I receptors and to antibodies to imidazoline drugs has been detected, but its structure is unknown.

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