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Evidence for different pharmacological targets for imidazoline compounds inhibiting settlement of the barnacle Balanus improvisus

Journal article
Authors Mia Dahlström
Kent M. Berntsson
M. Sjögren
Lena Mårtensson
Per R. Jonsson
Hans-Björne Elwing
Fredrik J. Lindgren
Published in Journal of Experimental Zoology Part a-Comparative Experimental Biology
Volume 303A
Issue 7
Pages 551-562
ISSN 1548-8969
Publication year 2005
Published at Department of Cell and Molecular Biology
Department of Marine Ecology, Tjärnö Marine Biological Laboratory
Department of Zoology
Department of Marine Ecology
Pages 551-562
Language en
Subject categories Ecology


We describe the effect of eight different imidazoline/guanidinium compounds on the settlement and metamorphosis of larvae of the barnacle Balanus improvisus. These agents were chosen on the basis of their similar pharmacological classification in vertebrates and their chemical similarity to medetomidine and clonidine, previously described as highly potent settlement inhibitors (nanomolar range). Seven of the tested compounds were found to inhibit settlement in a dose-dependent manner in concentrations ranging from 100 nM to 10 mu M without any significant lethal effects. In vertebrate systems these substances have overlapping functions and interact with both alpha-adrenoceptors as well as imidazoline binding sites. Antagonizing experiments using the highly specific alpha(2)-antagonist methoxy-idazoxan or agmatine (the putative endogenous ligand at imidazoline receptors) were performed to discriminate between putative pharmacological mechanisms involved in the inhibition of cyprid settlement. Agmatine was not able to reverse the effect of any of the tested compounds. However, methoxy-idazoxan almost completely abolished the settlement inhibition mediated by guanabenz (alpha(2)-agonist, I-2 ligand), moxonidine (alpha(2)-agonist, I-1 ligand) and tetrahydrozoline (alpha-agonist, I-2 ligand). The actions of cirazoline (alpha(1)-agonist, I-2 ligand) BU 224 (I-2 ligand) and metrazoline (I-2 ligand) were not reversed by treatment with methoxyidazoxan. These results suggest that the settlement inhibition evoked by the I-2 ligands and alpha(2)-agonists used in this study of the neurologically simple but well-organized barnacle larva is mediated through different physiological targets important in the overall settlement process. (c) 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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