Difference Between Agonist and Antagonist

Agonist vs Antagonist
 

Difference between agonist and antagonist is easy to remember as they are the opposite of each other. Agonist and antagonist are words in English that are self-explanatory though sometimes they can be confusing as their spelling are a little similar. If there are many supporters of an issue or a cause and one person opposes them, he is labeled as an antagonist. Agonist is a word that is used more in terms of drugs, and in pharmacology. It is defined as a drug that combines with receptors in the body, to initiate the action of the drug. In fact, agonist and antagonist are pairs that play a big role in the chemistry inside the human body and in pharmacology where drugs are made to work against ailments. Let us take a closer look at the features of agonist and antagonist to understand their differences.

What does Agonist mean?

In the human body, agonist and antagonist are described as a pairs of muscles that are opposite to each other in terms of their actions and reactions. Therefore, a muscle that is contracting is agonist. In pharmacology, the terms agonist and antagonist are used to understand or describe the working of drugs on receptors in our bodies. An agonist drug binds with the receptors in our bodies and induces reaction or triggers a response from the cell, which is similar to the response of the body to a naturally occurring substance.

Agonists and antagonists are chemical agents that play a vital role in the development of new drugs. To give an example, there is a drug called levodapa that has long been used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. However, it was found that the drug induced symptoms of uncontrollable jerky body movements. These uncontrollable movements proved to be a brake on the patient’s ability to perform normally. Dopamine agonists were developed to counter this effect. Dopamine agonists stimulated receptors of dopamine and lowered the risk of these jerky, uncontrollable body movements.

In literature, agonist is a synonym or a similar word for protagonist. In this sense, agonist means the leading character or one of the major characters in a literary work. Look at the following sentence.

Scout Finch is the protagonist of To Kill A Mockingbird.

Here, by naming Scout Finch as the protagonist of the book, the writer says that she is the leading character of the book To Kill A Mockingbird.

Difference Between Agonist and Antagonist

“The protagonist in Hamlet is Hamlet”

What does Antagonist mean?

In anatomy, a muscle that resists this movement or counteracts against this muscle is called antagonist. In pharmacology, an antagonist binds to the receptor cells and blocks or suppresses the normal response of the receptors. Thus, it is easy to see that while an agonist drug initiates a response from the body, an antagonist blocks the normal response of the cell receptor. An antagonist prevents a reaction.

In a more general sense, antagonist means someone who is hostile to someone or something. Look at the following sentence.

He was one of the main antagonists of the new act passed favouring the gay community.

In this sentence, by using the word antagonist the person ‘he ’ is introduced as someone who is against an act favouring the gay community.

What is the difference between Agonist and Antagonist?

• The pair of agonist and antagonist is muscle set in the human body, which is opposite to each other in action. So while, agonist has one action, antagonist muscle opposes this action.

• In pharmacology, agonist and antagonist are described as agents that initiate a response and prevent a response respectively.

• Agonist binds to the desired site and triggers a response from the receptor cells that mimics the response of the receptors to a naturally occurring substance.

• Antagonist is a chemical agent that binds to receptors and prevents a response by blocking or suppressing the response of the receptors of the body.

• The knowledge of agonist and antagonist is helpful in the development of new drugs to fight various ailments.

• In literature, agonist is a synonym or a similar word for protagonist. Protagonist is the leading character or one of the major characters in a literary work.

• Antagonist also means someone who is hostile to someone or something.

Images Courtesy: “Hamlet William Morris Hunt” by William Morris Hunt (Public Domain)