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Bioorg Med Chem. 2008 Jun 1;16(11):6286-96. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2008.04.020. Epub 2008 Apr 15.

Synthesis and in vitro evaluation of a library of modified endomorphin 1 peptides.

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School of Pharmacy, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Brisbane, Qld 4072, Australia.


Endomorphin 1 (Endo-1=Tyr-Pro-Trp-Phe-NH(2)), an endogenous opioid with high affinity and selectivity for mu-opioid receptors, mediates acute and neuropathic pain in rodents. To overcome metabolic instability and poor membrane permeability, the N- and C-termini of Endo-1 were modified by lipoamino acids (Laa) and/or sugars, and 2',6'-dimethyltyrosine (Dmt) replacement of Tyr. Analogues were assessed for mu-opioid receptor affinity, inhibition of cAMP accumulation, enzymatic stability, and permeability across Caco-2 cell monolayers. C-terminus modification decreased receptor affinity, while N-terminus C8-Laa improved stability and permeability with slight change in receptor affinity. Dmt provided a promising lead compound: [C8Laa-Dmt[1]]-Endo-1 is nine times more stable (t(1/2)=43.5min), >8-fold more permeable in Caco-2 cell monolayers, and exhibits 140-fold greater mu-opioid receptor affinity (K(imu)=0.08nM).

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