I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

2019 Feb 15

Bioorg Med Chem



Discovery of two novel branched peptidomimetics containing endomorphin-2 and RF9 pharmacophores: Synthesis and neuropharmacological evaluation.


Zhang T, Han Z, Shi X, Zhao W, Wang Z, Zhang R, Xu B, Zhang M, Zhang Q, Xiao J, Zhu H, Zheng T, Fang Q
Bioorg Med Chem. 2019 Feb 15; 27(4):630-643.
PMID: 30626554.


It is well known that opioid analgesics produce side effects including tolerance and constipation. Since neuropeptide FF (NPFF) receptor antagonists reversed opioid-induced hyperalgesia and analgesic tolerance, the present work was performed to synthetize two branched peptidomimetics, EKR and RKE, containing the opioid peptide endomorphin-2 (EM-2) and the NPFF receptor antagonist RF9. Our data obtained from the in vitro cyclic adenosine monophosphate experiment demonstrated that EKR functioned as a mixed mu-, delta-opioid receptors agonist and NPFF receptor antagonist/NPFF receptor partial agonist, whereas RKE acted as a multi-functional peptidomimetic with the mu-opioid agonism and the NPFF antagonism/NPFF partial agonism. Furthermore, EKR and RKE completely blocked the NPFF receptor-mediated neurite outgrowth of Neuro 2A cells. In vivo antinociception studies found that supraspinal administration of EKR and RKE dose-dependently produced potent antinociception via the mu-opioid receptor in the tail-flick test. In carrageenan inflammatory pain model, spinal administration of EKR and RKE induced dose-related analgesia, which was significantly reduced by the opioid antagonist naloxone and the NPFF antagonist RF9. Notably, compared with morphine, intracerebroventricular repeated administration of EKR and RKE maintained prolonged antinociceptive effectiveness. In addition, at the antinociceptive doses, these two branched peptidomimetics did not significantly inhibit gastrointestinal transit. Taken together, the present work suggest that EKR and RKE behave as multi-functional ligands with the opioid agonism and the NPFF antagonism/NPFF partial agonism, and produce prolonged antinociception with limited side effects. Moreover, our results imply that EKR and RKE might be interesting pharmacological tools for further investigating the biological function of the NPFF and opioid systems.