Discovery - University of Dundee - Online Publications

Library & Learning Centre

Direct subunit-dependent multimodal 5-hydroxytryptamine(3) receptor antagonism by methadone

Direct subunit-dependent multimodal 5-hydroxytryptamine(3) receptor antagonism by methadone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

View graph of relations


  • Tarek Z. Deeb
  • Douglas Sharp
  • Tim G. Hales (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research units


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)908-917
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Pharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2009


Homomeric 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)(3A) and heteromeric 5-HT3AB receptors mediate rapid excitatory responses to serotonin in the central and peripheral nervous systems. The alkaloid morphine, in addition to being a mu-opioid receptor agonist, is a potent competitive inhibitor of 5-HT3 receptors. We examined whether methadone, an opioid often used to treat morphine dependence, also exhibited 5-HT3 receptor antagonist properties. Racemic (R/S)-methadone inhibited currents mediated by human homomeric 5-HT3A receptors (IC50 = 14.1 +/- 2.5 mu M). Incorporation of the 5-HT3B subunit into heteromeric 5-HT3AB receptors reduced the potency of inhibition by (R/S)methadone (IC50 = 41.1 +/- 0.9 mu M). (R/S)-Methadone also increased apparent desensitization of both 5-HT3 receptor subtypes. The inhibition of the 5-HT3A receptor was competitive; however, incorporation of the 5-HT3B subunit caused the appearance of inhibition that was insurmountable by 5-HT. In the absence of rapid desensitization, when dopamine was used as an agonist of 5-HT3AB receptors, the inhibition by (R/S)-methadone was voltage-dependent. The antagonist and desensitization-enhancing effects of (R/S)-methadone were shared by pure (R)- and (S)-methadone enantiomers, which had similar actions on 5-HT-evoked currents mediated by 5-HT3 receptors. However, (R)-methadone exhibited a larger voltage-dependent inhibition of dopamine-evoked currents mediated by 5-HT3AB receptors than did (S)-methadone. Inhibition of 5-HT3A receptors by (R/S)-methadone was not influenced by voltage. Thus, methadone displays multimodal subunit-dependent antagonism of 5-HT3 receptors.



Library & Learning Centre

Contact | Accessibility | Policy