Comparison of the pharmacologic profiles of arginine vasopressin and oxytocin analogs at marmoset, titi monkey, macaque, and human oxytocin receptors

Marsha L. Pierce, Jeffrey A. French, Thomas F. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The oxytocin-arginine vasopressin (OT-AVP) ligand-receptor family influences a variety of physiological, behavioral, and social behavioral processes in the brain and periphery. The OT-AVP family is highly conserved in mammals, but recent discoveries have revealed remarkable diversity in OT ligands and receptors in New World Monkeys (NWMs) providing a unique opportunity to assess the effects of genetic variation on pharmacological signatures of peptide ligands. The consensus mammalian OT sequence has leucine in the 8th position (Leu8-OT), whereas a number of NWMs, including the marmoset, have proline in the 8th position (Pro8-OT) resulting in a more rigid tail structure. OT and AVP bind to OT's cognate G-protein coupled receptor (OTR), which couples to various G-proteins (Gi/o, Gq, Gs) to stimulate diverse signaling pathways. CHO cells expressing marmoset (mOTR), titi monkey (tOTR), macaque (qOTR), or human (hOTR) OT receptors were used to compare AVP and OT analog-induced signaling. Assessment of Gq-mediated increase in intracellular calcium (Ca2+) demonstrated that AVP was less potent than OT analogs at OTRs from species whose endogenous ligand is Leu8-OT (tOTR, qOTR, hOTR), relative to Pro8-OT. Likewise, AVP-induced membrane hyperpolarization was less potent at these same OTRs. Evaluation of (Ca2+)-activated potassium (K+) channels using the inhibitors apamin, paxilline, and TRAM-34 demonstrated that both intermediate and large conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channels contributed to membrane hyperpolarization, with different pharmacological profiles identified for distinct ligand-receptor combinations. Understanding more fully the contributions of structure activity relationships for these peptide ligands at vasopressin and OT receptors will help guide the development of OT-mediated therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109832
JournalBiomedicine and Pharmacotherapy
StatePublished - May 2020



  • Arginine vasopressin
  • Calcium-activated potassium channel
  • G-protein coupled receptor
  • Oxytocin
  • Oxytocin receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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