1. The binding properties of beta 1-, beta 2- and beta 3-adrenoceptors were determined in isolated brown adipocytes of the rat rather than in membrane preparations from tissue homogenates, because typical brown adipocytes represent only about 40% of the various cells present in brown adipose tissue. Binding characteristics were assessed with the hydrophilic beta-adrenoceptor radioligand, (-)-[3H]-CGP 12177. The potent beta-antagonist, bupranolol (100 microM) was used to determine nonspecific binding. Characterization was essentially performed by saturation and competition studies. 2. The saturation curve of (-)-[3H]-CGP 12177 was clearly biphasic (Hill coefficient, nH = 0.57 +/- 0.11, P < 0.01) indicating the presence of two different beta-adrenoceptor populations of high (KD = 0.24 +/- 0.04 nM) and low (KD = 80 +/- 7 nM) affinity. The low affinity sites were more numerous (Bmax = 121,000 +/- 30,000 sites/cell) than the high affinity sites (Bmax = 12,000 +/- 1,000 sites/cell). 3. (-)-[3H]-CGP 12177 (25 nM) was displaced by adrenaline (Ad), noradrenaline (NA), isoprenaline (Iso), phenylephrine (Phe) and by the new beta 3 agonist, CL 316,243 (CL) in a biphasic pattern. The order of potency for (-)-[3H]-CGP 12177 displacement from the small population of high affinity sites (Iso >> NA > Ad >> CL >> Phe was in agreement with a beta 1/beta 2-classification. In contrast, the potencies of the same agonists for displacing the radioligand from the low affinity binding sites (CL >> Iso > NA > Ad >> Phe) revealed the presence of a distinct population of adrenoceptors obeying a beta 3-classification.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS
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