Studies to Examine Potential Tolerability Differences between the 5-HT2C Receptor Selective Agonists Lorcaserin and CP-809101

Guy A. Higgins, Leonardo B. Silenieks, Amy Patrick, Ines A.M. De Lannoy, Paul J. Fletcher, Linda A. Parker, Neil J. Maclusky, Laura C. Sullivan, Teresa A. Chavera, Kelly A. Berg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Lorcaserin (LOR) is a selective 5-HT2C receptor agonist that has been FDA approved as a treatment for obesity. The most frequently reported side-effects of LOR include nausea and headache, which can be dose limiting. We have previously reported that in the rat, while LOR produced unconditioned signs characteristic of nausea/malaise, the highly selective 5-HT2C agonist CP-809101 (CP) produced fewer equivalent signs. Because this may indicate a subclass of 5-HT2C agonists having better tolerability, the present studies were designed to further investigate this apparent difference. In a conditioned gaping model, a rodent test of nausea, LOR produced significantly higher gapes compared to CP consistent with it having higher emetogenic properties. Subsequent studies were designed to identify features of each drug that may account for such differences. In rats trained to discriminate CP-809101 from saline, both CP and LOR produced full generalization suggesting a similar interoceptive cue. In vitro tests of functional selectivity designed to examine signaling pathways activated by both drugs in CHO (Chinese hamster ovary) cells expressing h5-HT2C receptors failed to identify evidence for biased signaling differences between LOR and CP. Thus, both drugs showed similar profiles across PLC, PLA2, and ERK signaling pathways. In studies designed to examine pharmacokinetic differences between LOR and CP, while drug plasma levels correlated with increasing dose, CSF levels did not. CSF levels of LOR increased proportionally with dose; however CSF levels of CP plateaued from 6 to 12 mg/kg. Thus, the apparently improved tolerability of CP likely reflects a limit to CNS levels attained at relatively high doses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1074-1084
Number of pages11
JournalACS Chemical Neuroscience
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 17 2017


  • 5-HT
  • CP-809101
  • CSF compartment
  • Serotonin
  • biased signaling
  • conditioned gaping
  • drug discrimination
  • lorcaserin
  • nausea
  • pharmacokinetics
  • plasma compartment
  • rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Studies to Examine Potential Tolerability Differences between the 5-HT2C Receptor Selective Agonists Lorcaserin and CP-809101'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this