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J Pept Sci. 2001 Sep;7(9):449-65.

Design of oxytocin antagonists, which are more selective than atosiban.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medical College of Ohio, Toledo 43614-5804, USA.


We report the solid phase synthesis of four pairs of L- and D-thienylalanine (Thi/D-Thi) position two modified analogues of the following four oxytocin (OT) antagonists: des-9-glycinamide [1-(beta-mercapto-beta,beta-pentamethylene propionic acid), 2-O-methyltyrosine, 4-threonine]ornithine-vasotocin (desGly(NH2)9,d (CH2)5[Tyr(Me)2,Thr4]OVT) (A); the Tyr-(NH2)9 analogue of (A), d(CH2)5[Tyr(Me)2,Thr4,Tyr-(NH2)9]OVT (B); the Eda9 analogue (where Eda = ethylenediamine) of (A), d(CH2)5[Tyr(Me)2, Thr4, Eda9]OVT (C); and the retro Tyr10 modified analogue of (C), d(CH2)5[Tyr(Me)2, Thr4, Eda9<--Tyr10]OVT (D). The eight new analogues of A-D are (1) desGly(NH2),d(CH2)5[Thi2,Thr4]OVT, (2) desGly(NH2),d(CH2)5[D-Thi2,Thr4]OVT, (3) d(CH2)5[Thi2, Thr4,Tyr-(NH2)9]OVT, (4) d(CH2)5[D-Thi2,Thr4,Tyr-(NH2)9]OVT (5) d(CH2)5[Thi2,Thr4Eda9]OVT, (6) d(CH2)5[D-Thi2,Thr4,Eda9]OVT, (7) d(CH2) [Thi2,Thr4,Eda9<--Tyr10]OVT, (8) d(CH2),[D-Thi2,Thr4,Eda9<--Tyr10]OVT. We also report the synthesis of (C). Peptides 1-8 and C were evaluated for agonistic and antagonistic activities in in vitro and in vivo OT assays, in in vivo vasopressor (V1a receptor) assays and in in vivo antidiuretic (V2 receptor) assays. None of the eight peptides nor C exhibit oxytocic or vasopressor agonism. Peptides 1-8 are extremely weak V2 agonists (antidiuretic activities range from < 0.0005 to 0.20 U/mg). Peptide C is a weak mixed V2 agonist/antagonist. Peptides 1-8 and C exhibit potent in intro (no Mg2+) OT antagonism (anti-OT pA2 values range from 7.76 to 8.05). Peptides 1-8 are all OT antagonists in vivo (estimated in vivo anti-OT pA2 values range from 6.54-7.19). With anti-V1a pA2 values of approximately 5-5.80, peptides 1-8 exhibit marked reductions in anti-V1a potencies relative to those of the parent peptides A-D (anti-V1a pA2 range from 6.48 to 7.10) and to l-deamino[D-Tyr(Et)2, Thr4]OVT (Atosiban, trade name Tractocile) (anti-V1a pA2-6.14). Atosiban has recently been approved in Europe for clinical use for the prevention of premature labour (Pharm. J. 264(7-100): 871). Peptides 1-8 exhibit striking gains in in vitro anti-OT/anti-V1a selectivities with respect to the parent peptides A, B, C and D and to Atosiban. Peptides 1-8 exhibit anti-OT (in vitro)/anti-V1a selectivities of 450, 525, 550, 450, approximately 1080, 116, 355, 227 respectively. The corresponding values for A-D and Atosiban are 30, 4.2, 4.3, 2.6 and 37. With the exception of peptide 6, the remaining seven peptides exhibit 3-18-fold gains in anti-OT (in vivo)/anti-V1a selectivity with respect to Atosiban, peptides 1-8 exhibit anti-OT (in vivo)/anti-V1a selectivities of 22, approximately 82, approximately 82, 147, approximately 83, 11, 31 and 42. By comparison, Atosiban exhibits an anti-OT (in vivo)/anti-V1a selectivity = 8. With an estimated in vivo anti-OT pA2 value = 7.19+/-0.06, peptide 4 is equipotent with Atosiban (pA2 = 7.05+/-0.05). However, with its significantly reduced anti-vasopressor potency, pA2 = approximately 5, it is approximately 18 times more selective for OT receptors with respect to VP V1a receptors than Atosiban. Since we have shown that V1a antagonism could be an unwanted side-effect in tocolytics, peptide 4 and some of the OT antagonists reported here have advantages over Atosiban and thus may be suitable candidates for evaluation as potential tocolytic agents for the treatment of preterm labour.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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