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Papers of the Week

Papers: 8 Feb 2020 - 14 Feb 2020

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2020 Feb 06


MEL endomorphins act as potent inflammatory analgesics with the inhibition of activated non-neuronal cells and modulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines.


Cui J-M, Zhao L, Wang Z-J, Ma M-T, Wang Y, Luo K-Y, Wang L-Q, Wei S, Zhang X-H, Han C-Z-Y, Liu X, Wang R
Neuropharmacology. 2020 Feb 06:107992.
PMID: 32036072.


Effective treatment of inflammatory pain is a major clinical concern for both patients and physicians. Traditional analgesics such as morphine and coxibs are not effective in all patients and have various unwanted side effects. Accumulating evidence has suggested that endomorphins (EMs), particularly EM-1, possess potent anti-inflammatory effects. However, poor bioavailability and low resistance to enzymatic degradation impede their direct application in the treatment of inflammation. A series of novel peptides based on the structure of EM-1, with lower undesired effects than their parent compounds, called MEL-EMs were discovered and synthetized in our preceding studies. Here, we selected two (MEL-0614 and MEL-N1606) to further investigate their anti-inflammatory effects. This work showed that MEL analogs exerted potent analgesic effects with the inhibition of activated glial cells and macrophages in a CFA-induced inflammatory pain model. Furthermore, multiple-dose administration of MEL analogs did not prolong CFA-induced chronic inflammatory pain, in contrast to morphine. Together, our findings revealed that MEL analogs may serve as effective candidates for chronic inflammation treatment.