Background: Allyphenyline, a novel α2-adrenoceptor (AR) ligand, has been shown to selectively activate α2C-adrenoceptors (AR) and 5HT1A receptors, but also to behave as a neutral antagonist of α2A-ARs. We exploited this unique pharmacological profile to analyze the role of α2C-ARs and 5HT1A receptors in the regulation of gastric mucosal integrity and gastrointestinal motility. Methods: Gastric injury was induced by acidified ethanol in Wistar rats. Mucosal catalase and superoxide dismutase levels were measured by assay kits. The effect of allyphenyline on electrical field stimulation (EFS)-induced fundic and colonic contractions was determined in C57BL/6 mice. Results: Intracerebroventricularly injected allyphenyline (3 and 15 nmol/rat) dose dependently inhibited the development of mucosal damage, which was antagonized by ARC 239 (α2B/C-AR and 5HT1A receptor antagonist), (S)-WAY 100135 (selective 5HT1A receptor antagonist), and JP-1302 (selective α2C-AR antagonist). This protection was accompanied by significant elevation of mucosal catalase and superoxide dismutase levels. Allyphenyline (10−9–10−5 M) also inhibited EFS-induced fundic contractions, which was antagonized by ARC 239 and (S)-WAY 100135, but not by JP-1302. Similar inhibition was observed in the colon; however, in this case only ARC 239 reduced this effect, while neither selective inhibition of α2C-ARs and 5HT1A receptors nor genetic deletion of α2A- and α2B-ARs influenced it. Conclusions: Activation of both central α2C-ARs and 5HT1A receptors contributes to the gastroprotective action of allyphenyline in rats. Its inhibitory effect on fundic contractions is mediated by 5HT1A receptors, but neither α2-ARs nor 5HT1A receptors take part in its inhibitory effect on colonic contractility in mice.
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