The regional distribution of sulphonylurea binding sites in rat brain

J. M. Treherne, M. L. J. Ashford

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    71 Citations (Scopus)


    Sulphonylureas such as glibenclamide, which are used in the treatment of Type-2 diabetes, are inhibitors of ATP-sensitive potassium channels. These channels link cellular metabolism to membrane electrical activity and it is likely that they are closely associated with glibenclamide binding sites. Quantitative autoradiography was used to localize high-affinity [3H]glibenclamide binding sites in coronal sections of rat brain. The relative density of binding sites was found to correlate well with the relative capacity of sites determined in homogenate assays. There was no evidence of any variation of affinity between brain regions. The highest levels of binding were found in the substantia nigra with high levels in the globus pallidus, cerebral cortex, hippocampus and caudate-putamen, intermediate levels in the cerebellum, and low levels in the hypothalamus and pons. The density of [3H]glibenclamide binding sites was low in glucose-responsive brain regions, known to contain ATP-sensitive potassium channels that are inhibited by sulphonylureas. However, higher densities were associated with brain regions (often limbic structures) active during temporal lobe epilepsy. In at least two of these structures, the CA3 region of the hippocampus and the substantia nigra, it is probable that these sites are coupled to ATP-sensitive potassium channels. These results are discussed with reference to the reported actions of ATP-sensitive potassium channels on CNS function.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)523-531
    Number of pages9
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1991


    • Rats, Inbred Strains
    • Rats
    • Glyburide
    • Animals
    • Sulfonylurea Compounds
    • Brain
    • Tissue Distribution
    • Autoradiography
    • Time Factors
    • Male
    • Binding Sites


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