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Papers of the Week

Papers: 29 Jan 2022 - 4 Feb 2022

Animal Studies

2022 Jan 24

Bioorg Chem


Novel bivalent ligands carrying potential antinociceptive effects by targeting putative mu opioid receptor and chemokine receptor CXCR4 heterodimers.


Ma H, Li M, Pagare PP, Wang H, Nassehi N, Santos EJ, Stevens Negus S, Selley DE, Zhang Y
Bioorg Chem. 2022 Jan 24; 120:105641.
PMID: 35093692.


The functional interactions between opioid and chemokine receptors have been implicated in the pathological process of chronic pain. Mounting studies have indicated the possibility that a MOR-CXCR4 heterodimer may be involved in nociception and related pharmacologic effects. Herein we have synthesized a series of bivalent ligands containing both MOR agonist and CXCR4 antagonist pharmacophores with an aim to investigate the functional interactions between these two receptors. In vitro studies demonstrated reasonable recognition of designed ligands at both respective receptors. Further antinociceptive testing in mice revealed compound 1a to be the most promising member of this series. Additional molecular modeling studies corroborated the findings observed. Taken together, we identified the first bivalent ligand 1a showing promising antinociceptive effect by targeting putative MOR-CXCR4 heterodimers, which may serve as a novel chemical probe to further develop more potent bivalent ligands with potential application in analgesic therapies for chronic pain management.