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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2009 Apr;329(1):306-13. doi: 10.1124/jpet.108.142802. Epub 2009 Jan 9.

Pharmacological characterization of ATPM [(-)-3-aminothiazolo[5,4-b]-N-cyclopropylmethylmorphinan hydrochloride], a novel mixed kappa-agonist and mu-agonist/-antagonist that attenuates morphine antinociceptive tolerance and heroin self-administration behavior.

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  • 1School of Life Science and Biopharmaceutics, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Shenyang, China.


ATPM [(-)-3-amino-thiazolo[5,4-b]-N-cyclopropylmethylmorphinan hydrochloride] was found to have mixed kappa- and mu-opioid activity and identified to act as a full kappa-agonist and a partial mu-agonist by in vitro binding assays. The present study was undertaken to characterize its in vivo effects on morphine antinociceptive tolerance in mice and heroin self-administration in rats. ATPM was demonstrated to yield more potent antinociceptive effects than (-)U50,488H (trans-3,4-dichloro-N-methyl-N-[2-(1-pyrrolidinyl)cyclohexyl]benzeneacetamide). It was further found that the antinociceptive effects of ATPM were mediated by kappa- and mu-, but not delta-opioid, receptors. In addition to its agonist profile on the mu-receptor, ATPM also acted as a mu-antagonist, as measured by its inhibition of morphine-induced antinociception. It is more important that ATPM had a greater ratio of the ED(50) value of sedation to that of antinociception than (-)U50,488 (11.8 versus 3.7), indicative of a less sedative effect than (-)U50,488H. In addition, ATPM showed less potential to develop antinociceptive tolerance relative to (-)U50,488H and morphine. Moreover, it dose-dependently inhibited morphine-induced antinociceptive tolerance. Furthermore, it was found that chronic treatment of rats for 8 consecutive days with ATPM (0.5 mg/kg s.c.) produced sustained decreases in heroin self-administration. (-)U50,488H (2 mg/kg s.c.) also produced similar inhibitory effect. Taken together, our findings demonstrated that ATPM, a novel mixed kappa-agonist and mu-agonist/-antagonist, could inhibit morphine-induced antinociceptive tolerance, with less potential to develop tolerance and reduce heroin self-administration with less sedative effect. kappa-Agonists with some mu-activity appear to offer some advantages over selective kappa-agonists for the treatment of heroin abuse.

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