Anabaseine is a potent agonist on muscle and neuronal alpha- bungarotoxin-sensitive nicotinic receptors

William R. Kem, Vladimir M. Mahnir, Roger L. Papke, Christopher J. Lingle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


We assessed the pharmacological activity of anabaseine, a toxin found in certain animal venoms, relative to nicotine and anabasine on a variety of vertebrate nicotinic receptors, using cultured cells, the Xenopus oocyte expression system, contractility assays with skeletal and smooth muscle strips containing nicotinic receptors and in vivo rat prostration assay involving direct injection into the lateral ventricle of the brain. Anabaseine stimulated every subtype of nicotinic receptor, that was tested. It wee the most potent frog skeletal muscle nicotinic receptor agonist. At higher concentrations it a so blocked the BC3 H1(adult mouse) muscle type receptor ion channel. The affinities of the three nicotinoid compounds for rat brain membrane alpha-bungarotoxin binding sites and their potencies for stimulating Xenopus oocyte homomeric alpha7 receptors, expressed in terms of their active monocation concentrations, displayed the same rank order, anabaseine>anabasine> nicotine. Although the maximum currents generated by anabaseine and anabasine at alpha7 receptors were equivalent to that of acetylcholine, the maximum response to nicotine was only about 65% of the acetylcholine response. At alpha4-beta2 receptors the affinities and apparent efficacies of anabaseine and anabasine were much less than that of nicotine. Anabaseine, nicotine and anabasine were nearly equipotent on sympathetic (PC12) receptors, although parasympathetic (myenteric plexus) receptors were much more sensitive to anabaseine and nicotine but less sensitive to anabasine. These differences suggest that them may be different subunit combinations in these two autonomic nicotinic receptors. The preferential interactions of anabaseine, anabasine and nicotine with different receptor subtypes provides molecular clues that should be helpful in the design of selective nicotinic agonists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)979-992
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997


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