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Open Access Open Badges Research article

A homotropic two-state model and auto-antagonism

Niels Bindslev

Author Affiliations

Department of Medical Physiology, Panum Institute, Blegdamsvej 3, DK-2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark

BMC Pharmacology 2004, 4:11  doi:10.1186/1471-2210-4-11

Published: 16 July 2004



Bell-shaped and terraced dose-response relations have been observed in single ligand application for enzymes, carriers, transporters, G protein-coupled receptors as well as for other receptive units. It seems that there is still a need for new models as analytical tools for such dose-responses, especially in the light of expanding di- and multi-merization of the receptive units for functionality.


Self-inhibition by drugs is analyzed in the frame-work of a theoretical homotropic two-state model, HOTSM. The model is a cubic reaction scheme based on a combination of conformational isomerization between two states within a receptive unit and ternary-complexing of two identical agonist molecules with the receptor. Concepts and terms related to self-inhibition are presented. HOTSM has seven independent parameters. Making a few simplifying assumptions narrows its analysis to initially look at four parameters. Some conclusions to be drawn are that a first level of spontaneous activity is solely determined by an isomerization constant, L. As ligand concentration rises, all seven parameters influence a second level of activity. At high ligand concentrations, a third level of activity is determined by only four of the seven constants, viz. the L constant and three intrinsic efficacy related constants, a, b, and d. The third level is given by 1/[1 + 1/(L·a·b·d)]. The third level may be above, at, or below the first and second levels. When the third level is above the first level, dose-responses may be bell-shaped, terraced, or reversed bell-shaped while when it is below the first level, dose-responses can attain forms of bell-shapes, reverse terraces, or reverse bell-shapes. To exemplify its use, the HOTSM is fitted to experimental dose-responses from sources in the literature. Development of the HOTSM is reviewed.


The homotropic two-state model, HOTSM, is a novel model for analyses of dose-responses at equilibrium that are co-operative or show bell-shapes of auto-antagonism.