Alpha-adrenergic receptor identification by (3H)dihydroergocryptine binding

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Science  21 May 1976:
Vol. 192, Issue 4241, pp. 791-793
DOI: 10.1126/science.4894


A radioactively labeled alpha-adrenergic antagonist, [3H]dihydroergocryptine, binds specifically to a site on rabbit uterine membranes. Binding is rapid, reaching equilibrium in less than 17 minutes at 25 degrees C. Adrenergic agonists compete for this binding site with an order of affinities identical to the pharmacological potency order of these agents as alpha-adrenergic agonists (epinephrine greater than norepinephrine greater than isoprotereonl). The (-) stereoisomers of epinephrine and norepinephrine are 30 times more potent in competing for the site than the corresponding (+) stereoisomers. alpha-Adrenergic antagonists, such as phentolamine and phenoxybenzamine, potently compete for the binding sites while the beta-adrenergic antagonist propranolol does not. Structural analogs of catecholamines that are devoid of alpha-adrenergic physiological activity do not compete for [3H]dihydroergocryptine binding sites. These data suggest that alpha-adrenergic receptors can be directly identified and studied by [3H]dihydroergocryptine binding.