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Papers of the Week

Papers: 17 Dec 2022 - 23 Dec 2022

2022 Dec 20

J Pept Sci

Opening the amino acid toolbox for peptide-based NTS2-selective ligands as promising lead compounds for pain management.


Previti S, Desgagné M, Tourwé D, Cavelier F, Sarret P, Ballet S
J Pept Sci. 2022 Dec 20:e3471.
PMID: 36539999.


Chronic pain is one of the most critical health issues worldwide. Despite considerable efforts to find therapeutic alternatives, opioid drugs remain the gold standard for pain management. The administration of μ-opioid receptor (MOR) agonists is associated with detrimental and limiting adverse effects. Overall, these adverse effects strongly overshadow the effectiveness of opioid therapy. In this context, the development of neurotensin (NT) ligands has shown to be a promising approach for the management of chronic and acute pain. NT exerts its opioid-independent analgesic effects through the binding of two G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), NTS1 and NTS2. In the last decades, modified NT analogues have been proven to provide potent analgesia in vivo. However, selective NTS1 and non-selective NTS1/NTS2 ligands cause antinociception associated with hypothermia and hypotension, whereas selective NTS2 ligands induce analgesia without altering the body temperature and blood pressure. In light of this, various structure-activity relationship (SAR) studies provided for findings addressing the binding affinity of ligands towards NTS2. Herein, we comprehensively review peptide-based NTS2-selective ligands as a robust alternative for future pain management. Particular emphasis is placed on SAR studies governing the desired selectivity and associated in vivo results.