The novel melatonin agonist agomelatine (S20098) is an antagonist at 5-hydroxytryptamine2C receptors, blockade of which enhances the activity of frontocortical dopaminergic and adrenergic pathways
Millan MJ, Gobert A, Lejeune F, Dekeyne A,
Newman-Tancredi A, Pasteau V, Rivet JM, Cussac D.
Department of Psychopharmacology,
Institut de Recherches Servier,
Croissy/Seine, France.
J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2003 Sep;306(3):954-64


Agomelatine (S20098) displayed pKi values of 6.4 and 6.2 at native (porcine) and cloned, human (h)5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)2C receptors, respectively. It also interacted with h5-HT2B receptors (6.6), whereas it showed low affinity at native (rat)/cloned, human 5-HT2A (<5.0/5.3) and 5-HT1A (<5.0/5.2) receptors, and negligible (<5.0) affinity for other 5-HT receptors. In antibody capture/scintillation proximity assays, agomelatine concentration dependently and competitively abolished h5-HT2C receptor-mediated activation of Gq/11 and Gi3 (pA2 values of 6.0 and 6.1). As measured by [3H]phosphatidylinositol depletion, agomelatine abolished activation of phospholipase C by h5-HT2C (pKB value of 6.1) and h5-HT2B (pKB value of 6.6) receptors. In vivo, it dose dependently blocked induction of penile erections by the 5-HT2C agonists (S)-2-(6-chloro-5-fluoroindol-1-yl)-1-methylethylamine (Ro60,0175) and 1-methyl-2-(5,8,8-trimethyl-8H-3-aza-cyclopenta[a]inden-3-yl) ethylamine (Ro60,0332). Furthermore, agomelatine dose dependently enhanced dialysis levels of dopamine in frontal cortex of freely moving rats, whereas they were unaffected in nucleus accumbens and striatum. Although the electrical activity of ventrotegmental dopaminergic neurons was unaffected agomelatine, it abolished their inhibition by Ro60,0175. Extracellular levels of noradrenaline in frontal cortex were also dose dependently enhanced by agomelatine in parallel with an acceleration in the firing rate of adrenergic cell bodies in the locus coeruleus. These increases in noradrenaline and dopamine levels were unaffected by the selective melatonin antagonist N-[2-(5-ethyl-benzo[b]thien-3-yl)ethyl] acetamide (S22153) and likely reflects blockade of 5-HT2C receptors inhibitory to frontocortical dopaminergic and adrenergic pathways. Correspondingly, distinction to agomelatine, melatonin showed negligible activity 5-HT2C receptors and failed to modify the activity of adrenergic and dopaminergic pathways. In conclusion, in contrast to melatonin, agomelatine behaves as an antagonist at 5-HT2B and 5-HT2C receptors: blockade of the latter reinforces frontocortical adrenergic and dopaminergic transmission.
The role of melatonin
Agomelatine: structure
Serotonin 5-HT2C receptors
Clinical efficacy of agomelatine
Agomelatine (Valdoxan): review
New antidepressants: agomelatine
Agomelatine: an anxiolytic antidepressant
Agomelatine (Valdoxan): efficacy and tolerance profile
Agomelatine, 5-hHT2c antagonist and melatonin agonist
Pathophysiology of depression: Role of sleep and the melatonergic system
Jet lag: therapeutic use of melatonin and possible application of melatonin analogs

and further reading

Future Opioids
BLTC Research
Utopian Surgery?
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World

The Good Drug Guide
The Good Drug Guide

The Responsible Parent's Guide
To Healthy Mood Boosters For All The Family