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In vitro effects of dihydroergotoxine, dihydroergosine, dihydroergotamine, alpha-dihydroergocriptine (ergot alkaloids), diazepam, methyl-beta-Carboline-3-carboxilate (beta-CCM), flumazenil (benzodiazepines), gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) and thiopental (barbiturate) were studied on mouse brain (cerebrum minus cerebral cortex) benzodiazepine binding sites labeled with 3H-flunitrazepam. Specific, high affinity (affinity constant, Kd = 57.7 8.6 nM) binding sites for 3H-flunitrazepam on mouse brain membranes were identified. All benzodiazepine drugs inhibited 3H-flunitrazepam binding with nanomolar potencies. In contrast to benzodiazepines, all ergot drugs, GABA and thiopental produced an enhancement of 3H-flunitrazepam binding to its binding site at the GABAA receptor of the mouse brain. The rank order of potency was: neurotransmitter (GABA) > dihydroergotoxine > thiopental > alpha-dihydroergocriptine > dihydroergosine > dihydroergotamine. The results suggest that dihydrogenated ergot derivatives do not bind to the brain benzodiazepine binding sites labeled with 3H-flunitrazepam. However, an enhancement of 3H-flunitrazepam binding by all ergot drugs tested, clearly identifies an allosteric interaction with the benzodiazepine binding sites of GABAA receptors.


Ante Tvrdeić, Danka Pericić. Effect of ergot alkaloids on 3H-flunitrazepam binding to mouse brain GABAA receptors. Collegium antropologicum. 2003;27 Suppl 1:175-82

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PMID: 12955907

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