Gallamine exerts biphasic allosteric effects at muscarinic receptors

J. Ellis, M. Seidenberg

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26 Scopus citations


Although gallamine and a number of other compounds have been reported to slow the rate of dissociation of labeled ligands, especially [3H]N-methylscopolamine (NMS), from muscarinic receptors of heart and brain, there has been some dispute as to whether the dissociation of [3H]quinuclidinyl benzilate (QNB) is subject to such allosteric regulation. The present studies were intended to determine whether past discrepancies might be due to differences between tissues. We have found that gallamine modulates the dissociation of [3H]QNB from muscarinic receptors of the heart in a biphasic manner. Low concentrations (micromolar) accelerate the rate of dissociation, whereas higher concentrations (millimolar) slow it; at about 0.1 mM, the two effects cancel each other. Similar results were obtained with muscarinic receptors from the brainstem, but gallamine had only marginal effects on the dissociation of [3H]QNB in the forebrain. On the other hand, verapamil exerts only monophasic effects (slowing) on the dissociation of both [3H]NMS and [3H]QNB from heart receptors and gallamine slows the dissociation of [3H]NMS to a similar extent in all three tissues. Thus, it appears that past discrepancies in the literature can be attributed to the tissues and concentrations of gallamine that were used. Furthermore, the biphasic effects of gallamine suggest that there are multiple allosteric regulatory sites associated with muscarinic receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-176
Number of pages4
JournalMolecular pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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