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Brain Res. 2001 Mar 23;895(1-2):89-94.

Carboxyl terminal peptides derived from prepro-orphanin FQ/nociceptin (ppOFQ/N) are produced in the hypothalamus and possess analgesic bioactivities.

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The Laboratory of Molecular Neuropharmacology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Orphanin FQ/nociceptin (OFQ/N), the endogenous ligand for the ORL-1/KOR-3 receptor, produces a wide variety of behavioral responses. Its precursor protein, prepro-OFQ/N (ppOFQ/N) contains several series of amino acids bounded by pairs of basic amino acids, raising the possibility that additional functional neuropeptides could be generated by proteolytic posttranslational processing. Several of these processing products have been shown to have pharmacological activity, including the 17 amino acid peptide OFQ/N (mppOFQ/N(140-157)) which is a major product of this precursor in the hypothalamus. Here we have used a newly developed radioimmunoassay and RP-HPLC to detect mppOFQ/N(160-187) in mouse hypothalamic extracts. Murine ppOFQ/N(160-187) has potent analgesic activity supraspinally (3.4 nmol, i.c.v.) and spinally (4.3 nmol, i.t.). This analgesic activity was reversed by the opioid antagonist naloxone (5 mg/kg, s.c.) and kappa(1)-selective opioid antagonist nor-BNI (60 microg, i.c.v.), despite the inability of ppOFQ/N(160-187) to compete binding in mu, delta, kappa(1), kappa(3), or OFQ/N binding assays. These findings suggest that murine ppOFQ/N(160-187) may be a physiologically relevant neuropeptide with a novel mechanism of action.

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