Dynorphin A (Dyn A) is an endogenous opioid ligand that possesses neuroinhibitory (antinociceptive) effects via μ, δ, and κ opioid receptors. However, under chronic pain conditions, up-regulated spinal Dyn A can also interact with bradykinin receptors (BRs) to promote hyperalgesia through a neuroexcitatory(pronociceptive) effect. These excitatory effects cannot be blocked by an opioid antagonist, and thus are non-opioid in nature. On the basis of the structural dissimilarity between Dyn A and endogenous BR ligands, bradykinin(BK) and kallidin (KD), Dyn A's interaction with BRs could not be predicted, and provided an opportunity to identify a novel potential neuroexcitatory target. Systematic structure-activity relationship (SAR) studies discovered a minimum pharmacophore of Dyn A, [des-Arg7]-Dyn A-(4-11) LYS1044 for antagonist activity at the BRs, along with insights into the key structural features for BRs recognition, i.e., amphipathicity. The des-Tyr fragment of dynorphin does not bind to opioid receptors. Intrathecal administration of des-Tyr dynorphin produces hyperalgesia reminiscent of behaviors seen in peripheral n europathic pain models and at higher doses, neurotoxicity. Our lead ligand LYS1044 negatively modulated Dyn A-(2-13)-induced neuroexcitatory effects in naïve animals and blocked mechanical hypersensitivity and thermal hyperalgesia in a dose-dependent manner in animals with experimental neuropathic pain. Based on these results, ligand LYS1044 might prevent abnormal pain states by blocking the neuroexcitatory effects of increased levels of Dyn A that are seen in experimental models of neuropathic pain and that likely promote excitation mediated by BRs in the spinal cord.
We hypothesized that under chronic
pain conditions, up-regulated
dynorphin A (Dyn A) interacts with bradykinin receptors (BRs) in the
spinal cord to promote hyperalgesia through an excitatory effect,
which is opposite to the well-known inhibitory effect of opioid receptors.
Considering the structural dissimilarity between Dyn A and endogenous
BR ligands, bradykinin (BK) and kallidin (KD), this interaction could
not be predicted, but it allowed us to discover a potential neuroexcitatory
target. Well-known BR ligands, BK, [des-Arg10, Leu9]-kallidin (DALKD), and HOE140 showed different binding profiles
at rat brain BRs than that previously reported. These results suggest
that neuronal BRs in the rat central nervous system (CNS) may be pharmacologically
distinct from those previously defined in non-neuronal tissues. Systematic
structure–activity relationship (SAR) study at the rat brain
BRs was performed, and as a result, a new key structural feature of
Dyn A for BR recognition was identified: amphipathicity. NMR studies
of two lead ligands, Dyn A-(4–11) 7 and [des-Arg7]-Dyn A-(4–11) 14, which showed the same
high binding affinity, confirmed that the Arg residue in position
7, which is known to be crucial for Dyn A’s biological activity,
is not necessary, and that a type I β-turn structure at the C-terminal part of both ligands plays an important role
in retaining good binding affinities at the BRs. Our lead ligand 14 blocked Dyn A-(2–13) 10-induced hyperalgesic
effects and motor impairment in in vivo assays using naïve
rats. In a model of peripheral neuropathy, intrathecal (i.th.) administration
of ligand 14 reversed thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical
hypersensitivity in a dose-dependent manner in nerve-injured rats.
Thus, ligand 14 may inhibit abnormal pain states by blocking
the neuroexcitatory effects of enhanced levels of Dyn A, which are
likely to be mediated by BRs in the spinal cord.
The optimization and truncation of our lead peptide-derived ligand TY005 possessing eight amino-acid residues was performed. Among the synthesized derivatives, NP30 (Tyr1-DAla2-Gly3-Phe4-Gly5-Trp6-O-[3′,5′-Bzl(CF3)2]) showed balanced and potent opioid agonist as well as substance P antagonist activities in isolated tissue-based assays, together with significant antinociceptive and antiallodynic activities in vivo.
bifunctional compounds; opioid receptor agonists; neutokinin-1 receptor antagonists; Truncation of peptide sequence; NMR structure
Newly designed bivalent ligands—opioid agonist/NK1-antagonists have been synthesized. The synthesis of new starting materials—carboxy-derivatives of Fentanyl (1a–1c) was developed. These products have been transformed to ‘isoimidium perchlorates’ (2a–c). The new isoimidium perchlorates have been successfully implemented in nucleophilic addition reactions, with L-tryptophan 3,5-bis(trifluoromethyl)benzyl ester to give the target compounds—amides (3a–c). Perchlorates (2a–c) successfully undergo reactions with other nucleophiles such as alcohols, amines or hydrazines. The obtained compound 3b exhibited μ-opioid agonist activity and NK1-antagonist activity and may serve as a useful lead compound for the further design of a new series of opioid agonist/NK1-antagonist compounds.
Analgesic; Bivalent ligands; μ-Opioids; NK1 antagonist; Fentanyl
We hypothesized that under chronic pain conditions, up-regulated dynorphin A (Dyn A) interacts with bradykinin receptors (BRs) in the spinal cord to promote hyperalgesia through an excitatory effect, which is opposite to the well known inhibitory effect of opioid receptors. Considering the structural dissimilarity between Dyn A and endogenous BR ligands, bradykinin (BK) and kallidin (KD), this interaction could not be predicted, but allowed us to discover a potential neuroexcitatory target. Well known BR ligands, BK, DALKD, and HOE140 showed different binding profiles at rat brain BRs than that previously reported. These results suggest that neuronal BRs in the rat central nervous system (CNS) may be pharmacologically distinct from those previously defined in non-neuronal tissues. Systematic structure-activity relationship (SAR) study at the rat brain BRs was performed and as a result, a new key structural feature of Dyn A for BR recognition was identified: amphipathicity. NMR studies of two lead ligands, Dyn A-(4-11) 7 and [des-Arg7]-Dyn A-(4-11) 14, which showed the same high binding affinity, confirmed that the Arg residue in position 7, which is known to be crucial for Dyn A’s biological activity, is not necessary, and that a type I β-turn structure at the C-terminal part of both ligands plays an important role in retaining good binding affinities at the BRs. Our lead ligand 14 blocked Dyn A-(2-13) 10-induced hyperalgesic effects and motor impairment in in vivo assays using naïve rats. In a model of peripheral neuropathy, intrathecal (i.th.) administration of ligand 14 reversed thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical hypersensitivity in a dose-dependent manner in nerve-injured rats. Thus ligand 14 may inhibit abnormal pain states by blocking the neuroexcitatory effects of enhanced levels of Dyn A, which are likely to be mediated by BRs in the spinal cord.
pathological chronic pain states; hyperalgesia; dynorphin A; bradykinin receptor recognition; non-opioid; amphipathic pharmacophore
In this letter, we describe a structure–activity
study, specifically related to the chirality of third amino acid residue
in our H-Dmt-l(or d)-Tic analogues, of which C-terminus
is attached to a piperidinyl moiety. Observed selectivities and functional
activities of these analogues demonstrated that the chiralities of
the second and third position residues are crucial for determining
whether these ligands act as antagonists or agonists at the δ
opioid receptor, but not at the μ opioid receptor.
Dmt-Tic; opioid functional activities; structure−activity
relationship; δ opioid receptor; chirality
The dorsal column pathway consists of direct projections from primary afferents and of ascending fibers of the post-synaptic dorsal column (PSDC) cells. This pathway mediates touch but may also mediate allodynia after nerve injury. The role of PSDC neurons in nerve injury-induced mechanical allodynia is unknown. Repetitive gentle, tactile stimulus or noxious pinch was applied to the ipsilateral hindpaw of rats with spinal nerve ligation (SNL) or sham surgery that had previously received tetramethylrhodamine dextran in the ipsilateral n. gracilis. Both touch and noxious stimuli produced marked increases in FOS expression in other cells throughout all laminae of the ipsilateral dorsal horn after nerve injury. However, virtually none of the identified PSDC cells expressed FOS immunofluorescence in response to repetitive touch or pinch in either the nerve-injured or sham groups. In contrast, labeled PSDC cells expressed FOS in response to ureter ligation and labeled spinothalamic tract (STT) cells expressed FOS in response to noxious pinch. Identified PSDC neurons from either sham-operated or SNL rats did not express immunoreactivity to substance P, CGRP, NPY, PKCg, MOR, the NK1 and the NPY-Y1 receptor. Retrogradely labeled DRG cells of nerve injured rats were large diameter neurons, which expressed NPY, but no detectable CGRP or substance P. Spinal nerve injury sensitizes neurons in the spinal dorsal horn to repetitive light touch but PSDC neurons apparently do not participate in touch-evoked allodynia. Sensitization of these non-PSDC neurons may result in activation of projections integral to the spinal/supraspinal processing of enhanced pain states and of descending facilitation, thus priming the central nervous system to interpret tactile stimuli as being aversive.
PSDC cells; spinal cord; neuropathic pain; FOS expression
Opioids can induce hyperalgesia in humans and in animals. Mechanisms of opiate-induced hyperalgesia and possibly of spinal antinociceptive tolerance may be linked to pronociceptive adaptations occurring at multiple levels of the nervous system including activation of descending facilitatory influences from the brainstem, spinal neuroplasticity, and changes in primary afferent fibers. Here, the role of NK-1 receptor-expressing cells in the spinal dorsal horn in morphine-induced hyperalgesia and spinal antinociceptive tolerance was assessed by ablating these cells with intrathecal injection of SP-saporin (SP-SAP). Ablation of NK-1 receptor expressing cells prevented (a) morphine-induced thermal and mechanical hypersensitivity, (b) increased touch-evoked spinal FOS expression, (c) upregulation of spinal dynorphin content and (d) the rightward displacement of the spinal morphine antinociceptive dose-response curve (i.e., tolerance). Morphine-induced hyperalgesia and antinociceptive tolerance were also blocked by spinal administration of ondansetron, a serotonergic receptor antagonist. Thus, NK-1 receptor expressing neurons play a critical role in sustained morphine-induced neuroplastic changes which underlie spinal excitability reflected as thermal and tactile hypersensitivity to peripheral stimuli, and to reduced antinociceptive actions of spinal morphine (i.e., antinociceptive tolerance). Ablation of these cells likely eliminates the ascending limb of a spinal-bulbospinal loop that engages descending facilitation and elicits subsequent spinal neuroplasticity. The data may provide a basis for understanding mechanisms of prolonged pain which can occur in the absence of tissue injury.
Opioid-induced hyperalgesia; descending facilitation; spinal plasticity; spinal tolerance; NK-1 receptors; projection cells
Opioids produce analgesic effects and extended use can produce physical dependence in both humans and animals. Dependence to opiates can be demonstrated by either termination of drug administration or through precipitation of the withdrawal syndrome by opiate antagonists. Key features of the opiate withdrawal syndrome include hyperalgesia, anxiety and autonomic signs such as diarrhea. The rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM) plays an important role in the modulation of pain and for this reason, may influence withdrawal-induced hyperalgesia. The mechanisms that drive opiate withdrawal-induced hyperalgesia have not been elucidated. Here, rats made dependent upon morphine received naloxone to precipitate withdrawal. RVM microinjection of lidocaine, kynurenic acid (excitatory amino acid antagonist) or YM022 (CCK2 receptor antagonist) blocked withdrawal-induced hyperalgesia. Additionally, these treatments reduced both somatic and autonomic signs of naloxone-induced withdrawal. Spinal application of ondansetron, a 5HT3 receptor antagonist thought to ultimately be engaged by descending pain facilitatory drive, also blocked hyperalgesia and somatic and autonomic features of the withdrawal syndrome. These results indicate that the RVM plays a critical role in mediating components of opioid withdrawal that may contribute to opioid dependence.
Manipulations targeting these descending pathways from the RVM may diminish the consequences of prolonged opioid administration-induced dependence and be useful adjunct strategies in reducing the risk of opioid addiction.
naloxone-induced withdrawal; hyperalgesia; RVM; descending facilitation; morphine dependence
In this letter, we describe a structure–activity relationships study, specifically related to the chirality of third amino acid residue in our H-Dmt-L(or D)-Tic analogues, of which C-terminus is attached to a piperidinyl moiety. Observed selectivities and functional activities of these analogues demonstrated that the chiralities of the second and third position residues are crucial for determining whether these ligands act as antagonists or agonists at the δ opioid receptor, but not at the μ opioid receptor.
Dmt-Tic; opioid functional activities; structure–activity relationship; δ opioid receptor; chirality
We report here the design, synthesis, and in vitro characterization of new opioid peptides featuring a 4-anilidopiperidine moiety. Despite the fact that the chemical structures of fentanyl surrogates have been found suboptimal per se for the opioid activity, the corresponding conjugates with opioid peptides displayed potent opioid activity. These studies shed an instructive light on the strategies and potential therapeutic values of anchoring the 4-anilidopiperidine scaffold to different classes of opioid peptides.
Opioid peptide; Dynorphine analog; Bivalent ligand; Fentanyl; Analgesic
Natural residues of the dimeric opioid peptide Biphalin were replaced by the corresponding homo-β3 amino acids. The derivative 1 containing hβ3 Phe in place of Phe showed good μ- and δ-receptor affinities (
Kiδ=0.72nM;Kiμ=1.1nM) and antinociceptive activity in vivo together with an increased enzymatic stability in human plasma.
Cholecystokinin (CCK) has been suggested to be both pro-nociceptive and anti-opioid by actions on pain modulatory cells within the RVM. One consequence of activation of RVM CCK2 receptors may be enhanced spinal nociceptive transmission but how this might occur, especially in states of pathological pain is unknown. Here, in vivo microdialysis was used to demonstrate that levels of RVM CCK increased by approximately 2-fold following ligation of L5/L6 spinal nerves (SNL). Microinjection of CCK into the RVM of naïve rats elicited hypersensitivity to tactile stimulation of the hindpaw. Additionally, RVM CCK elicited a time-related increase in PGE2 measured in cerebrospinal fluid from the lumbar spinal cord. The peak increase in spinal PGE2 was approximately 5-fold and was observed at approximately 80-min post-RVM CCK, a time coincident with maximal RVM CCK-induced mechanical hypersensitivity. Spinal administration of naproxen, a non-selective COX-inhibitor, significantly attenuated RVM CCK-induced hindpaw tactile hypersensitivity. RVM-CCK also resulted in a 2-fold increase in spinal 5-HIAA, a 5-HT metabolite, as compared to controls, and mechanical hypersensitivity that was attenuated by spinal application of ondansetron, a 5-HT3 antagonist. The present studies suggest that chronic nerve injury can result in activation of descending facilitatory mechanisms that may promote hyperalgesia via ultimate release of PGE2 and 5-HT in the spinal cord.
rostral ventromedial medulla; descending facilitation; cholecystokinin; serotonin; PGE2; microdialysis; tactile hypersensitivity; nerve injury
In order to obtain a metabolically more stable analgesic peptide derivative, O-β-glycosylated serine (Ser(Glc)) was introduced into TY027 (Tyr-D-Ala-Gly-Phe-Met-Pro-Leu-Trp-NH-3’,5’-Bzl(CF3)2) which was a previously reported bifunctional compound with delta/mu opioid agonist and neurokinin-1 receptor antagonist activities, and with a half life of 4.8 h in rat plasma. Incorporation of Ser(Glc) into various positions of TY027 gave analogues with variable bioactivities. Analogue 6 (Tyr-D-Ala-Gly-Phe-Nle-Pro-Leu-Ser(Glc)-Trp-NH-3’,5’-Bzl(CF3)2) was found to have effective bifunctional activities with a well-defined conformation with two β-turns based on the NMR conformational analysis in the presence of DPC micelles. In addition, 6 showed significant improvement in its metabolic stability (70 ± 9 % of 6 was intact after 24 h incubation in rat plasma). This improved metabolic stability, along with its effective and delta selective bifunctional activities, suggests that 6 could be an interesting research tool and possibly a promising candidate as a novel analgesic drug.
bifunctional peptide derivatives; glycopeptides; analgesics; opioid induced tolerance; opioid receptor agonist; neurokinin-1 receptor antagonist; conformation-activity relationships; NMR structure; DPC micelles
A puzzling observation is why peripheral nerve injury results in chronic pain in some, but not all, patients. We explored potential mechanisms that may prevent the expression of chronic pain. Sprague-Dawley (SD) or Holtzman (HZ) rats showed no differences in baseline sensory thresholds or responses to inflammatory stimuli. However, spinal nerve ligation (SNL)-induced tactile allodynia occurred in approximately 85% of SD and 50% of HZ rats, respectively. No apparent differences were observed in a survey of DRG or spinal “neuropathic markers” following SNL regardless of allodynic phenotype. SNL-induced allodynia was reversed by administration of lidocaine within the rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM), a site that integrates descending pain modulation via pain inhibitory (i.e., OFF) and excitatory (i.e., ON) cells. However, in SD or HZ rats with SNL but without allodynia, RVM lidocaine precipitated allodynia. Additionally, RVM lidocaine produced conditioned place preference in allodynic SD or HZ rats but conditioned place aversion in non-allodynic HZ rats. Similarly, RVM U69,593 (kappa opioid agonist) or blockade of spinal α2 adrenergic receptors precipitated allodynia in previously non-allodynic HZ rats with SNL. All rats showed an equivalent first phase formalin responses. However, HZ rats had reduced second phase formalin behaviors along with fewer RVM OFF cell pauses and RVM ON cell bursts. Thus, expression of nerve-injury induced pain may ultimately depend on descending modulation. Engagement of descending inhibition protects in the transition from acute to chronic pain. These unexpected findings might provide a mechanistic explanation for medications that engage descending inhibition or mimic its consequences.
A predominant complaint in patients with neuropathic pain is spontaneous pain, often described as “burning”. Recent studies have demonstrated that negative reinforcement can be used to unmask spontaneous neuropathic pain allowing for mechanistic investigations. Here, ascending pathways that might contribute to evoked and spontaneous components of experimental neuropathic pain model were explored. Desensitization of TRPV1 positive fibers with systemic resiniferatoxin (RTX) abolished spinal nerve ligation (SNL) injury-induced thermal hypersensitivity and spontaneous pain, but had no effect on tactile hypersensitivity. Ablation of spinal NK-1 receptor expressing neurons blocked SNL-induced thermal and tactile hypersensitivity as well as spontaneous pain. Following nerve injury, upregulation of neuropeptide Y (NPY) is observed almost exclusively in large diameter fibers and inactivation of the brainstem target of these fibers in the n. gracilis prevents tactile, but not thermal, hypersensitivity. Blockade of NPY signaling within the n. gracilis failed to block SNL-induced spontaneous pain or thermal hyperalgesia while fully reversing tactile hypersensitivity. Moreover, microinjection of NPY into n. gracilis produced robust tactile hypersensitivity, but failed to induce conditioned place aversion. These data suggest that spontaneous neuropathic pain and thermal hyperalgesia are mediated by TRPV1 positive fibers and spinal NK-1 positive ascending projections. In contrast, the large diameter dorsal column projection can mediate nerve injury-induced tactile hypersensitivity, but does not contribute to spontaneous pain. As inhibition of tactile hypersensitivity can be achieved either by spinal manipulations or by inactivation of signaling within the n. gracilis, the enhanced paw withdrawal response evoked by tactile stimulation does not necessarily reflect “allodynia”.
Ongoing pain; nerve injury; NPY; TRPV1; tactile allodynia; thermal hyperalgesia
Tonic pain has been difficult to demonstrate in animals. Because relief of pain is rewarding, analgesic agents that are not rewarding in the absence of pain should become rewarding only when there is ongoing pain. We used conditioned place preference to concomitantly determine the presence of tonic pain in rats and the efficacy of agents that relieve it. This provides a new approach for investigating tonic pain in animals and for evaluating the analgesic effects of drugs.
Neuropathic pain is often “spontaneous” or “stimulus-independent.” Such pain may result from spontaneous discharge in primary afferent nociceptors in injured peripheral nerves. However, whether axotomized primary afferent nociceptors give rise to pain is unclear. The rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC) mediates the negative affective component of inflammatory pain. Whether the rACC integrates the aversive component of chronic spontaneous pain arising from nerve injury is not known. Here, we used the principle of negative reinforcement to show that axotomy produces an aversive state reflecting spontaneous pain driven from injured nerves. Additionally, we investigated whether the rACC contributes to the aversiveness of nerve injury induced spontaneous pain. Partial or complete hindpaw denervation was produced by sciatic or sciatic/saphenous axotomy, respectively. Conditioned place preference resulting from presumed pain relief was observed following spinal clonidinein animals with sciatic axotomy but not in sham-operated controls. Similarly, lidocaine administration into the rostral ventromedial medulla (RVM) produced place preference selectively in animals with sciatic/saphenous axotomy. In rats with spinal nerve ligation (SNL) injury lesion of the rACC blocked the reward elicited by RVM lidocaine but did not alter acute stimulus evoked hypersensitivity. Lesion of the rACC did not block cocaine-induced reward indicating that rACC blockade did not impair memory encoding or retrieval but did impair spontaneous aversiveness. These data indicate that spontaneous pain arising from injured nerve fibers produces a tonic aversive state that is mediated by the rACC. Identification of the circuits mediating aversiveness of chronic pain should facilitate the development of improved therapies.
Spontaneous pain; axotomy; nerve injury; anterior cingulate cortex; negative reinforcement
Opiates are currently the mainstay for treatment of moderate to severe pain. However, prolonged administration of opiates has been reported to elicit hyperalgesia in animals and examples of opiate-induced hyperalgesia have been reported in humans as well. In spite of the potential clinical significance of such opiate-induced actions, the mechanisms of opiate-induced hypersensitivity remain unknown. The TRPV1 receptor, a molecular sensor of noxious heat, acts as an integrator of multiple forms of noxious stimuli and plays an important role in the development of inflammation-induced hyperalgesia. As animals treated with opiates show thermal hyperalgesia, we examined the possible role of TRPV1 receptors in the development of morphine-induced hyperalgesia using TRPV1 wild-type (WT) and knock-out (KO) mice and with administration of a TRPV1 antagonist in mice and rats. Administration of morphine by subcutaneous implantation of morphine pellets elicited both thermal and tactile hypersensitivity in TRPV1 WT mice, but not in TRPV1 KO mice. Moreover, oral administration of a TRPV1 antagonist reversed both thermal and tactile hypersensitivity induced by sustained morphine administration in mice and rats. Immunohistochemical analyses indicate that sustained morphine administration modestly increases TRPV1 labeling in the dorsal root ganglia (DRG). In addition, sustained morphine increased flinching and plasma extravasation after peripheral stimulation with capsaicin, suggesting an increase in TRPV1 receptor function in the periphery in morphine treated animals. Collectively our data indicate that the TRPV1 receptor is an essential peripheral mechanism in expression of morphine-induced hyperalgesia.
Opioid-induced hyperalgesia possibly limits the usefulness of opioids, emphasizing the value of alternative methods of pain control. We demonstrate that TRPV1 channels play an important role in peripheral mechanisms of opioid-induced hyperalgesia. Such information may lead to the discovery of analgesics lacking such adaptations and improving treatment of chronic pain.
The conventional design of high affinity drugs targeted to a single molecule has not resulted in clinically useful therapies for pain relief. Recent reviews have suggested that newly designed analgesic drugs should incorporate multiple targets. The distributions of cholecystokinin (CCK) and CCK receptors in the central nervous system (CNS) overlap significantly with endogenous opioid systems and can be dually targeted. CCK has been shown to act as an endogenous “anti-analgesic” peptide and neuropathic pain conditions promote endogenous CCK release in CNS regions of pain modulation. Administration of CCK into nuclei of the rostral ventromedial medulla induces pronociceptive behaviors in rats. RSA 504 and RSA 601 are novel bifunctional compounds developed to target neuropathic pain by simultaneously acting as agonists at two distinct opioid receptors and antagonizing CCK receptors in the CNS. RSA 504 and RSA 601 demonstrate agonist activity in vitro and antihypersensitivity to mechanical and thermal stimuli in vivo using the spinal nerve ligation model of neuropathic pain. Intrathecal administration of RSA 504 and RSA 601 did not demonstrate antinociceptive tolerance over 7 days of administration and did not display motor impairment or sedation using a rotarod. These are the first behavioral studies that demonstrate how multi-targeted molecule design can address the pathology of neuropathic pain. These compounds with δ and μ opioid agonist activity and CCK antagonist activity within one molecule offer a novel approach with efficacy for neuropathic pain while lacking the side effects typically caused by conventional opioid therapies.
neuropathic pain; spinal nerve ligation; cholecystokinin; opioids
Multivalent ligands with delta/mu opioid agonist and NK1 antagonist activities have shown promising analgesic potency without detectable sign of toxicities, including motor skill impairment and opioid-induced tolerance. To improve their biological activities and metabolic stability, structural optimization was performed on our peptide-derived lead compounds by introducing 2′, 6′-Dimethyl-L-Tyrosine (Dmt) instead of Tyr at the first position. The compound 7 (Dmt-D-Ala-Gly-Phe-MetPro-Leu-Trp-NH-[3′,5′-(CF3)2-Bzl]) showed improved multivalent bioactivities compared to those of the lead compounds, had more than 6 h half-life in rat plasma, and significant antinociceptive efficacy in vivo. The NMR structural analysis suggested that Dmt1 incorporation in compound 7 induces the structured conformation in the opioid pharmacophore (N-terminus), and simultaneously shifts the orientation of the NK1 pharmacophore (C-terminus), consistent with its affinities and activities at both opioid and NK1 receptors. These results indicate that compound 7 is a valuable research tool to seek a novel analgesic drug.
analgesics; bifunctional peptide derivatives; 2′, 6′-Dimethyl-L-Tyrosine; DPC micelle; opioid induced tolerance; opioid receptor agonist; neurokinin-1 receptor antagonist; NMR structure
A screening of conformationally constrained aromatic amino acids as base cores for the preparation of new NK1 receptor antagonists resulted in the discovery of three new NK1 receptor antagonists, 19 [Ac-Aba-Gly-NH-3′,5′-(CF3)2-Bn], 20 [Ac-Aba-Gly-NMe-3′,5′-(CF3)2-Bn] and 23 [Ac-Tic-NMe-3′,5′-(CF3)2-Bn], which were able to counteract the agonist effect of substance P, the endogenous ligand of NK1R. The most active NK1 antagonist of the series, 20 [Ac-Aba-Gly-NMe-3′,5′-(CF3)2-Bn], was then used in the design of a novel, potent chimeric opioid agonist-NK1 receptor antagonist, 35 [Dmt-D-Arg-Aba-Gly-NMe-3′,5′-(CF3)2-Bn], which combines the N-terminus of the established Dmt1-DALDA agonist opioid pharmacophore (H-Dmt-D-Arg-Phe-Lys-NH2) and 20, the NK1R ligand. The opioid component of the chimeric compound 35, i.e. Dmt-D-Arg-Aba-Gly-NH2 36, also proved to be an extremely potent and balanced μ- and δ opioid receptor agonist with subnanomolar binding and in vitro functional activity.
NK1 receptor antagonists; opioids; multitarget drug design; designed multiple ligands
Pancreatic pain resulting from chronic inflammation of the pancreas is often intractable and clinically difficult to manage with available analgesics reflecting the need for more effective therapies. Mechanisms underlying pancreatitis pain are not well understood. Here, the possibility that interleukin-6 (IL-6) may promote pancreatitis pain was investigated with TB-2-081 (3-O-formyl-20R,21-epoxyresibufogenin, EBRF), a small molecule IL-6 receptor antagonist that was semi-synthetically derived from natural sources. The potential activity and mechanism of TB-2-081 was investigated following induction of persistent pancreatitis using dibutyltin dichloride (DBTC) in rats. TB-2-081 displaces binding of IL-6 to the human recombinant soluble IL-6 receptor with apparent high affinity and inhibits IL-6 mediated cell growth. Systemic or oral, but not intrathecal, administration of TB-2-081 reversed DBTC-induced abdominal hypersensitivity in a dose- and time-dependent manner. IL-6 levels were significantly upregulated in the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) of rats with pancreatitis on day 6 after DBTC injection. IL-6 enhanced capsaicin-evoked release of calcitonin gene related peptide from cultured DRG neurons was blocked by TB-2-081. Our data demonstrate that TB-2-081 acts as a systemically available and orally active small molecule IL-6 receptor antagonist. TB-2-081 effectively reduces pancreatitis-induced pain through peripheral mechanisms that are likely due to (a) increased expression of IL-6 in the DRG and (b) IL-6-mediated sensitization of nociceptive neurons. The activity of TB-2-081 implicates an important role for IL-6 in sustaining pancreatitis pain. Strategies targeting IL-6 actions through small molecule antagonists may offer novel approaches to improve therapy of chronic pancreatitis and other chronic pain states.
An SAR study on the Dmt-substituted enkephalin-like tetrapeptide with a N-phenyl-N-piperidin-4-yl propionamide moiety at C-terminal was performed, and has resulted in highly potent ligands at μ and δ opioid receptors. In general, ligands with the substitution of D-Nle2 and halogenation of the aromatic ring of Phe4 showed highly increased opioid activities. Ligand 6 with good biological activities in vitro demonstrated potent in vivo antihyperalgesic and antiallodynic effects in the tail-flick assay.
Neuropathic pain states and tolerance to opioids can result from system changes in the CNS, such as up-regulation of the NK1 receptor and substance P, which have anti-opioid effects in ascending or descending pain-signaling pathways. Bifunctional compounds, possessing both the NK1 antagonist pharmacophore and the opioid agonist pharmacophore with delta-selectivity, could counteract these system changes to have significant analgesic efficacy without undesirable side effects. As a result of the introduction of cyclic and topological constraints with penicillamines, 2 (Tyr-cyclo[D-Pen-Gly-Phe-Pen]-Pro-Leu-Trp-NH-[3′,5′-(CF3)2-Bzl]) was found as the best bifunctional compound with effective NK1 antagonist and potent opioid agonist activities, and 1400-fold delta-selectivity over the mu-receptor. The NMR structural analysis of 2 revealed that the relative positioning of the two connected pharmacophores as well as its cyclic and topological constraints might be responsible for its excellent bifunctional activities as well as its significant delta-opioid selectivity. Together with the observed high metabolic stability, 2 could be considered as a valuable research tool and possibly a promising candidate for a novel analgesic drug.
bifunctional compound; opioid receptor agonists; neutokinin-1 receptor antagonists; NMR structure; membrane-compound interaction