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Papers of the Week

2020 May 13

Eur J Pharmacol

Spinal administration of the multi-functional opioid/neuropeptide FF agonist BN-9 produced potent antinociception without development of tolerance and opioid-induced hyperalgesia.


Zhang R, Xu B, Zhang Q, Chen D, Zhang M, Zhao G, Xu K, Xiao J, Zhu H, Niu J, Li N, Fang Q
Eur J Pharmacol. 2020 May 13:173169.
PMID: 32416184.


Chronic opioids treatment is impeded by the development of analgesic tolerance and opioid-induced hyperalgesia. Recent studies have shown that multi-functional opioid compounds produce analgesic activities with limited side effects. We developed a novel multi-functional peptide targeting opioid and neuropeptide FF receptors named BN-9, which produced potent and non-tolerance forming antinociceptive effect after supraspinal and systemic administrations. In the present study, the analgesic properties and potential side effects of intrathecal BN-9 were investigated in a range of preclinical rodent models. In complete Freund's adjuvant-induced inflammatory pain model, intrathecal BN-9 dose-dependently produced analgesic effect via opioid receptors, and the spinal antinociceptive effect was augmented by the neuropeptide FF receptor antagonist RF9. In contrast, in plantar incision-induced postoperative pain model, BN-9 exhibited potent anti-allodynic effect via opioid receptors and, at least partially, neuropeptide FF receptors. In mouse models of acetic acid-induced visceral pain and formalin pain, BN-9-induced spinal antinociception was mainly mediated by opioid receptors, independent of neuropeptide FF receptors. Furthermore, at the spinal level, chronic treatments with BN-9 did not lead to analgesic tolerance and cross-tolerance to morphine. Moreover, opioid-induced hyperalgesia was observed after repeated administration of morphine, but not BN-9. Taken together, our present study suggests that intrathecal BN-9 produces potent and non-tolerance forming antinociception, and does not cause opioid-induced hyperalgesia. Thus, BN-9 might serve as a promising lead compound in the development of multi-functional opioid analgesics with minimized side effects.