(R,S)-4-phosphonophenylglycine, a potent and selective group III metabotropic glutamate receptor agonist, is anticonvulsive and neuroprotective in vivo

F. Gasparini, V. Bruno, G. Battaglia, S. Lukic, T. Leonhardt, W. Inderbitzin, D. Laurie, B. Sommer, M. A. Varney, S. D. Hess, E. C. Johnson, R. Kuhn, S. Urwyler, D. Sauer, C. Portet, M. Schmutz, F. Nicoletti, Peter J. Flor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Group III metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) are thought to modulate neurotoxicity of excitatory amino acids, via mechanisms of presynaptic inhibition, such as regulation of neurotransmitter release. Here, we describe (R,S)-4-phosphonophenylglycine (PPG) as a novel, potent, and selective agonist for group III mGluRs. In recombinant cell lines expressing the human receptors hmGluR4a, hmGluR6, hmGluR7b, or hmGluR8a, EC 50 values for (R,S)-PPG of 5.2 ± 0.7 μM, 4.7 ± 0.9 μM, 185 ± 42 μM, and 0.2 ± 0.1 μM, respectively, were measured. The compound showed EC 50 and IC 50 values of ≥200 μM at group I and II hmGluRs and was inactive at cloned human N-methyl-D-aspartate, α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4- propionate, and kainate receptors (>300 μM). On the other hand, it showed micromolar affinity for a Ca 2+/CI -dependent L-glutamate binding site in rat brain, similar to other phosphono-substituted amino acids like L-2- amino-4-phosphonobutyrate. In cultured cortical neurons, (R,S)-PPG provided protection against a toxic pulse of N-methyl-D-aspartate (EC 50 = 12 μM), which was reversed by the group III mGluR antagonist (R,S)-α-methylserine- O-phosphate but not by the group II antagonist (2S)-α-ethylglutamate. Moreover, (R,S)-PPG protected against N-methyI-D-aspartate- and quinolinic acid-induced striatal lesions in rats and was anticonvulsive in the maximal electroshock model in mice. In contrast to the group III mGluR agonists L-2- amino-4-phosphonobutyrate and b-serine-O-phosphate, (R,S)-PPG showed no proconvulsive effects (2200 nmol i.c.v.). These data provide novel in vivo evidence for group III mGluRs as attractive targets for neuroprotective and anticonvulsive therapy. Also, (R,S)-PPG represents an attractive tool to analyze the roles of group III mGluRs in nervous system physiology and pathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1678-1687
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of '(R,S)-4-phosphonophenylglycine, a potent and selective group III metabotropic glutamate receptor agonist, is anticonvulsive and neuroprotective in vivo'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this