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Papers of the Week

Papers: 13 April 2024 - 19 April 2024

2024 Apr 03

Int J Mol Sci




In Vitro and In Vivo Pharmacological Profiles of LENART01, a Dermorphin-Ranatensin Hybrid Peptide.


Hochrainer N, Serafin P, D'Ingiullo S, Mollica A, Granica S, Brytan M, Kleczkowska P, Spetea M


Diverse chemical and pharmacological strategies are currently being explored to minimize the unwanted side effects of currently used opioid analgesics while achieving effective pain relief. The use of multitarget ligands with activity at more than one receptor represents a promising therapeutic approach. We recently reported a bifunctional peptide-based hybrid LENART01 combining dermorphin and ranatensin pharmacophores, which displays activity to the mu-opioid receptor (MOR) and dopamine D2 receptor (D2R) in rat brains and spinal cords. In this study, we investigated the in vitro binding and functional activities to the human MOR and the in vivo pharmacology of LENART01 in mice after subcutaneous administration. In vitro binding assays showed LENART01 to bind and be selective to the human MOR over the other opioid receptor subtypes and delta, kappa and nociceptin receptors. In the [S]GTPγS binding assay, LENART01 acted as a potent and full agonist to the human MOR. In mice, LENART01 produced dose-dependent antinociceptive effects in formalin-induced inflammatory pain, with increased potency than morphine. Antinociceptive effects were reversed by naloxone, indicating MOR activation in vivo. Behavioral studies also demonstrated LENART01’s properties to induce less adverse effects without locomotor dysfunction and withdrawal syndrome compared to conventional opioid analgesics, such as morphine. LENART01 is the first peptide-based MOR-D2R ligand known to date and the first dual MOR-dopamine D2R ligand for which in vivo pharmacology is reported with antinociceptive efficacy and reduced opioid-related side effects. Our current findings may pave the way to new pain therapeutics with limited side effects in acute and chronic use.