International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology. CXI. Pharmacology, Signaling, and Physiology of Metabotropic Glutamate Receptors

Karen J. Gregory, Cyril Goudet

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleOtherpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors respond to glutamate, the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the mammalian brain, mediating a modulatory role that is critical for higher-order brain functions such as learning and memory. Since the first mGlu receptor was cloned in 1992, eight subtypes have been identified along with many isoforms and splice variants. The mGlu receptors are transmembrane-spanning proteins belonging to the class C G protein-coupled receptor family and represent attractive targets for a multitude of central nervous system disorders. Concerted drug discovery efforts over the past three decades have yielded a wealth of pharmacological tools including subtype-selective agents that competitively block or mimic the actions of glutamate or act allosterically via distinct sites to enhance or inhibit receptor activity. Herein, we review the physiologic and pathophysiological roles for individual mGlu receptor subtypes including the pleiotropic nature of intracellular signal transduction arising from each. We provide a comprehensive analysis of the in vitro and in vivo pharmacological properties of prototypical and commercially available orthosteric agonists and antagonists as well as allosteric modulators, including ligands that have entered clinical trials. Finally, we highlight emerging areas of research that hold promise to facilitate rational design of highly selective mGlu receptor-targeting therapeutics in the future. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: The metabotropic glutamate receptors are attractive therapeutic targets for a range of psychiatric and neurological disorders. Over the past three decades, intense discovery efforts have yielded diverse pharmacological tools acting either competitively or allosterically, which have enabled dissection of fundamental biological process modulated by metabotropic glutamate receptors and established proof of concept for many therapeutic indications. We review metabotropic glutamate receptor molecular pharmacology and highlight emerging areas that are offering new avenues to selectively modulate neurotransmission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-569
Number of pages49
JournalPharmacological Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

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