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Both BMY-14802 (alpha-(4-fluorophenyl)-4-(5-fluoro-2-pyrimidinyl)-1-piperazine-butanol hydrochloride) and gevotroline (WY-47384; 8-fluoro-2,3,4,5-tetrahydro-2-[3-(3-pyridinyl)-propyl]-1H-pyrido[4,3-b] indole hydrochloride) are known to antagonize the psychotomimetic action of N-allyl-normetazocine (NAN; SKF-10047) and exhibit a high affinity for the sigma receptor. Unexpectedly, the putative antagonists BMY-14802 and gevotroline acted like the agonist NAN and increased activity in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis to elevate levels of corticosterone in plasma. During the acrophase (peak) of the effects of the circadian rhythm on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, the ED50 was 6.5 mmol/kg for BMY-14802 and 9.6 mmol/kg for gevotroline. The ED50s for BMY-14802 and gevotroline during the low activity phase were 15.8 and 21.2 mmol/kg, respectively. The efficacies during both phases of the circadian rhythm were similar for each drug. Additive effects on the levels of corticosterone in plasma were observed when the animals were pretreated with doses above the respective ED50 values and then subjected to a rotational stress, but a small dose of BMY-14802 (0.5 mg/kg) had the opposite effect and completely inhibited the stress-related increases in corticosterone in plasma. Neither drug, at large doses, altered the increase in levels of corticosterone in plasma generated by the circadian rhythm, but at smaller doses BMY-14802 did lower circadian-related levels of corticosterone. Pretreatment with dexamethasone blocked the gevotroline-related increase in corticosterone in plasma, but not the BMY-14802-related increase. These data suggest that central sigma receptor mechanisms are involved in the regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and that therapeutic agents that affect these receptors may alter the activity in this axis.


G K Matheson, D Guthrie, C Bauer, A Knowles, G White, C Ruston. Sigma receptor ligands alter concentrations of corticosterone in plasma in the rat. Neuropharmacology. 1991 Jan;30(1):79-87

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PMID: 1675451

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