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Papers of the Week

Papers: 18 May 2024 - 24 May 2024

2024 May 21



A synthetic peptide exerts nontolerance-forming antihyperalgesic and antidepressant effects in mice.


Wu Y, Song X, Ji Y, Chen G, Zhao L


Chronic pain is a prevalent and persistent ailment that affects individuals worldwide. Conventional medications employed in the treatment of chronic pain typically demonstrate limited analgesic effectiveness and frequently give rise to debilitating side effects, such as tolerance and addiction, thereby diminishing patient compliance with medication. Consequently, there is an urgent need for the development of efficacious novel analgesics and innovative methodologies to address chronic pain. Recently, a growing body of evidence has suggested that multireceptor ligands targeting opioid receptors (ORs) are favorable for improving analgesic efficacy, decreasing the risk of adverse effects, and occasionally yielding additional advantages. In this study, the intrathecal injection of a recently developed peptide (VYWEMEDKN) at nanomolar concentrations decreased pain sensitivity in naïve mice and effectively reduced pain-related behaviors in nociceptive pain model mice with minimal opioid-related side effects. Importantly, the compound exerted significant rapid-acting antidepressant effects in both the forced swim test and tail suspension test. It is possible that the rapid antihyperalgesic and antidepressant effects of the peptide are mediated through the OR pathway. Overall, this peptide could both effectively provide pain relief and alleviate depression with fewer side effects, suggesting that it is a potential agent for chronic pain and depression comorbidities from the perspective of pharmaceutical development.