Antinociceptive activity of thiazole-containing cyclized DAMGO and Leu-(Met) enkephalin analogs†
Numerous studies demonstrate the promise of opioid peptides as analgesics, but poor oral bioavailability has limited their therapeutic development. This study sought to increase the oral bioavailability of opioid peptides by cyclization, using Hantzsch-based macrocyclization strategies to produce two new series of cyclized DAMGO and Leu/Met-enkephalin analogs. Opioid receptor affinity and selectivity for compounds in each series were assessed in vitro with radioligand competition binding assays. Compounds demonstrated modest affinity but high selectivity for the mu, delta, and kappa opioid receptors (MOR, DOR and KOR), while selectivity for mu opioid receptors varied by structure. Antinociceptive activity of each compound was initially screened in vivo following intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) administration and testing in the mouse 55 °C warm-water tail-withdrawal test. The four most active compounds were then evaluated for dose- and time-dependent antinociception, and opioid receptor selectivity in vivo. Cyclic compounds 1924-10, 1936-1, 1936-7, and 1936-9 produced robust and long- lasting antinociception with ED50 values ranging from 0.32–0.75 nmol following i.c.v. administration mediated primarily by mu- and delta-opioid receptor agonism. Compounds 1924-10, 1936-1 and 1936-9 further displayed significant time-dependent antinociception after oral (10 mg kg−1, p.o.) administration. A higher oral dose (30 mg kg−1. p.o.) of all four cyclic peptides also reduced centrally-mediated respiration, suggesting successful penitration into the CNS. Overall, these data suggest cyclized opioid peptides synthesized by a Hantzsch-based macrocyclization strategy can retain opioid agonist activity to produce potent antinociception in vivo while conveying improved bioavailability following oral administration.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Chemical biology in OBC