Functional assay for assessment of agonistic or antagonistic activity of angiotensin AT2 receptor ligands reveals that EMA401 and PD123319 have agonistic properties

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  • A. Augusto Peluso
  • Igor M. Souza-Silva
  • Daniel C. Villela
  • Pernille B.L. Hansen
  • Anders Hallberg
  • Michael Bader
  • Robson Santos
  • Colin Sumners
  • U. Muscha Steckelings

With the discovery of the protective arm of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS), interest has grown in protective RAS-related receptors such as the angiotensin AT2-receptor [AT2R] as potential new drug targets. While it is known that AT2R couple to Gi, it is also apparent that they do not signal via inhibition of adenylyl cyclase/decrease in cAMP, as do many Gi-coupled receptors. Thus, standard commercially-available assays cannot be applied to test for agonistic or antagonistic properties of AT2R ligands. This lack of standard assays has hampered the development of new drugs targeting the AT2R. Therefore, we aimed at developing a reliable, technically easy assay for the determination of intrinsic activity of AT2R ligands, primarily for distinguishing between AT2R agonists and antagonists. We found that measurement of NO release by DAF-FM fluorescence in primary human aortic endothelial cells (HAEC) or in AT2R-transfected CHO cells is a reliable assay for the characterization of AT2R ligands. While testing the assay, we made several novel findings, including: a) C21 is a full agonist at the AT2R (with the same efficacy as angiotensin II); b) C21 has no intrinsic activity at the receptor Mas; c) AT2R-transfected HEK-293 cells are unresponsive to AT2R stimulation; d) EMA401 and PD123319, which are commonly regarded as AT2R antagonists, are partial agonists at the AT2R. Collectively, we have developed and tested an assay based on the measurement and quantification of NO release in HAEC or in AT2R-CHO cells that is suitable for the characterisation of novel and established AT2R ligands.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115793
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2023

    Research areas

  • Angiotensin AT-receptor, EMA401, Nitric oxide, PD123319

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