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Papers of the Week

Papers: 13 Jun 2020 - 19 Jun 2020

Animal Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2020 Jun 13


VF-13, a chimeric peptide of VD-hemopressin(α) and neuropeptide VF, produces potent antinociception with reduced cannabinoid-related side effects.


Xu B, Xiao J, Xu K, Zhang Q, Chen D, Zhang R, Zhang M, Zhu H, Niu J, Zheng T, Li N, Zhang X, Fang Q
Neuropharmacology. 2020 Jun 13:108178.
PMID: 32544481.


Pharmacological evidence indicated a functional interaction between neuropeptide FF (NPFF) and cannabinoid systems, and the cannabinoids combined with the NPFF receptor agonist neuropeptide VF (NPVF) produced antinociception without tolerance. In the present study, VF-13, a chimeric peptide containing the pharmacophores of the endogenous cannabinoid peptide VD-hemopressin(α) (VD-Hpα) and NPVF, was synthesized and pharmacologically evaluated. In vitro, VF-13 significantly upregulated the phosphorylated level of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) in CHO cells stably expressing CB1 receptors and inhibited forskolin-induced cAMP accumulation in HEK293 cells stably expressing NPFF or NPFF receptors. Moreover, VF-13 induced neurite outgrowth in Neuro 2A cells via CB1 and NPFF receptors. These results suggest that VF-13 exhibits multifunctional agonism at CB1, NPFF and NPFF receptors in vitro. Interestingly, intracerebroventricular VF-13 produced dose-dependent antinociception in mouse models of tail-flick and carrageenan-induced inflammatory pain via the TRPV1 receptor. In contrast, the reference compound (m)VD-Hpα-NH induced CB1 receptor-mediated supraspinal antinociception. Additionally, subcutaneous injection of (m)VD-Hpα-NH and VF-13 produced significant antinociception in carrageenan-induced inflammatory pain model. In the tetrad assay, our data demonstrated that VF-13 elicited hypothermia, but not catalepsy and hypoactivity after intracerebroventricular injection. Notably, VF-13 produced non-tolerance forming antinociception over 6 days treatment in both acute and inflammatory pain models. Furthermore, VF-13 had no apparent effects on gastrointestinal transit, pentobarbitone-induced sedation, food intake, and motor coordination at the supraspinal level. In summary, VF-13, a novel chimeric peptide of VD-Hpα and NPVF, produced non-tolerance forming antinociception in preclinical pain models with reduced cannabinoid-related side effects.