Selectivity of coronaridine congeners at nicotinic acetylcholine receptors and inhibitory activity on mouse medial habenula

Hugo R. Arias, Xiaotao Jin, Dominik Feuerbach, Ryan M. Drenan

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The inhibitory activity of coronaridine congeners on human (h) α4β2 and α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) is determined by Ca2+ influx assays, whereas their effects on neurons in the ventral inferior (VI) aspect of the mouse medial habenula (MHb) are determined by patch-clamp recordings. The Ca2+ influx results clearly establish that coronaridine congeners inhibit hα3β4 AChRs with higher selectivity compared to hα4β2 and hα7 subtypes, and with the following potency sequence, for hα4β2: (±)-18-methoxycoronaridine [(±)-18-MC] > (+)-catharanthine > (±)-18-methylaminocoronaridine [(±)-18-MAC] ∼ (±)-18-hydroxycoronaridine [(±)-18-HC]; and for hα7: (+)-catharanthine > (±)-18-MC > (±)-18-HC > (±)-18-MAC. Interestingly, the inhibitory potency of (+)-catharanthine (27 ± 4 μM) and (±)-18-MC (28 ± 6 μM) on MHb (VI) neurons was lower than that observed on hα3β4 AChRs, suggesting that these compounds inhibit a variety of endogenous α3β4* AChRs. In addition, the interaction of bupropion with (−)-ibogaine sites on hα3β4 AChRs is tested by [3H]ibogaine competition binding experiments. The results indicate that bupropion binds to ibogaine sites at desensitized hα3β4 AChRs with 2-fold higher affinity than at resting receptors, suggesting that these compounds share the same binding sites. In conclusion, coronaridine congeners inhibit hα3β4 AChRs with higher selectivity compared to other AChRs, by interacting with the bupropion (luminal) site. Coronaridine congeners also inhibit α3β4*AChRs expressed in MHb (VI) neurons, supporting the notion that these receptors are important endogenous targets for their anti-addictive activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-209
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes



  • (+)-Catharanthine
  • 18-Methoxycoronaridine
  • Brain slices
  • Coronaridine congeners
  • Medial habenula
  • Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor

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