Behavioural and neurochemical correlates of drugs acting at imidazoline and α2-adrenoceptor binding sites
A number of agents with differing selectivity profiles for the non-a2 adrenoceptor binding site (NAIBS), imidazoline preferring receptor (IPR) and a2-adrenoceptor were employed in a series of behavioural and neurochemical experiments to determine a functional role for the former two sites. The highly selective NAIBS ligand RX801 077 produced an increase in rat brain extracellular noradrenaline (NA) levels, as determined by the technique of in vivo microdialysis, which may underlie its ability to produce a discriminable cue in the same species. This increase in NA may be due to a suggested link between the NAIBS and the monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) activity of RX801 077. For instance, the RX801 077 cue was substituted for by the MAOI drugs pargyline and moclobemide, which themselves down regulate NAIBS when administered chronically. RX811 059 substituted for the RX801 077 cue which may be due its ability to stimulate NA release via its activity as a highly selective a2-adrenoceptor antagonist. An effect upon NA output may also explain the ability of RX801 077 to 'mimic' the anti-immobility effect of the antidepressant drug desmethylimipramine (DMJ) in the forced swimming test. Further studies are therefore required to examine a possible role for the NAIBS in the treatment of depression. Discriminable cues were also produced by RX811 059 and the a2- adrenoceptor agonist clonidine, probably as a consequence of their respective ability to stimulate and inhibit NA output via their opposing activity at a2-adrenoceptors. The IPR has been suggested to play a role in mediating the hypotensive effect of clonidine, although a precise role was unable to be established for this site in the present studies due to the unavailability of highly selective IPA agents.