Multiple benzodiazepine receptors and their regulation by γ-aminobutyric

Frederick J. Ehlert, William R. Roeske, Henry I. Yamamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


The interaction of propyl β-carboline-3-carboxylate (PCC) with benzodiazepine receptors in the cerebral cortex of the rat was investigated by direct measurements of [3H]PCC binding and by competitive inhibition of [3H]flunitrazepam (FLU) binding. Initial experiments showed that [3H]PCC binding exhibited characteristics of saturability, stereospecificity and a pharmacological specificity remarkably similar to that of [3H]FLU binding. Analysis of [3H]PCC binding isotherms and PCC/[3H]PCC competition curves revealed the presence of a small population of super high affinity PCC binding sites (KSH = 30-100 pM) which represents approximately 3-6% of the total sites. When measured by competitive inhibition of [3H]FLU binding, receptor occupancy by PCC was generally consistent with that determined by direct measurements of [3H]PCC binding. Analysis of the PCC/[3H]FLU competition curve revealed the presence of two major populations of high and low affinity PCC binding sites with dissociation constants of 0.54 and 10 nM and relative abundances of 52 and 45%, respectively. Collectively, the results of the [3H]PCC binding isotherm, PCC/[3H]PCC competition curve and PCC/[3H]FLU competition curve are internally consistent when rationalized in terms of three populations of benzodiazepine receptors - super high, high, and low affinity - each having different affinities for PCC and equal affinity for FLU. The effects of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) on PCC and FLU binding were investigated, and it was observed that GABA enhanced the binding of FLU to the various receptor subtypes whereas no significant effect of GABA on the binding of PCC was detected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-248
Number of pages14
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 20 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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