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Papers of the Week

Papers: 14 Sep 2019 - 20 Sep 2019

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2020 Mar - Apr

J Pain



Spinal DN-9, a peptidic multifunctional opioid/neuropeptide FF agonist produced potent nontolerance forming analgesia with limited side effects.


Wang Z, Xu B, Jiang C, Zhang T, Zhang M, Li N, Zhang Q, Xu K, Chen D, Xiao J, Fang Q
J Pain. 2020 Mar - Apr; 21(3-4):477-493.
PMID: 31521796.


The development of multitarget opioid drugs has emerged as an attractive therapeutic strategy to eliminate opioid-related side effects. Our previous study developed a series of opioid and neuropeptide FF (NPFF) pharmacophore-containing chimeric peptides, including DN-9 (Tyr-D.Ala-Gly-NMe.Phe-Gly-Pro-Gln-Arg-Phe-NH), which produced potent nontolerance forming analgesia at the supraspinal level. In the present study, the antinociceptive effects of DN-9 in a series of preclinical pain models and the potential side-effects were investigated at the spinal level in mice. In the tail-flick test, intrathecal injection of DN-9 produced potent analgesia with an ED value at 1.33 pmol, and the spinal antinociception of DN-9 was mainly mediated by μ- and κ-opioid receptors. In addition, DN-9-induced spinal antinociception was augmented by the NPFF receptors antagonist. Furthermore, DN-9 could decrease both the frequency and amplitude of sEPSCs in lamina IIo neurons of the spinal cord, which were mediated by opioid receptors. In contrast to morphine, chronic intrathecal treatments with DN-9 did not induce analgesic tolerance, c-Fos expression or microglial activation. Intrathecal injection of DN-9 showed potent analgesia with antinociceptive ED values between 0.66 and 55.04 pmol in different pain models, including the formalin test, acetic acid-induced writhing test, carrageen-induced inflammatory pain and neuropathic pain. Moreover, DN-9 did not show side effects in locomotor function and coordination, gastrointestinal transit inhibition, the cardiovascular system, and body temperature regulation at antinociceptive doses. Taken together, the present study showed DN-9 produced effective, nontolerance forming analgesia with reduced side effects at the spinal level. DN-9 might be a promising compound for developing multifunctional opioid analgesics with limited adverse effects. Perspective: This article presents the potent and nontolerance forming analgesia effects of DN-9 in a series of preclinical pain models with less opioid related adverse effects at the spinal level in mice. This study also demonstrates that DN-9 has translational potential into an intrathecal analgesic.