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J Med Chem. 2010 Jun 24;53(12):4623-32. doi: 10.1021/jm100092s.

Identification and functional characterization of a stable, centrally active derivative of the neurotensin (8-13) fragment as a potential first-in-class analgesic.

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Department of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences, South Carolina College of Pharmacy, Medical University of South Carolina Campus, 280 Calhoun Street, Charleston, South Carolina 29425-2303, USA.


The neurotensin hexapapetide fragment NT(8-13) is a potent analgesic when administered directly to the central nervous system but does not cross the blood-brain barrier. A total of 43 novel derivatives of NT(8-13) were evaluated, with one, ABS212 (1), being most active in four rat models of pain when administered peripherally. Compound 1 binds to human neurotensin receptors 1 and 2 with IC(50) of 10.6 and 54.2 nM, respectively, and tolerance to the compound in a rat pain model did not develop after 12 days of daily administration. When it was administered peripherally, serum levels and neurotensin receptor binding potency of 1 peaked within 5 min and returned to baseline within 90-120 min; however, analgesic activity remained near maximum for >240 min. This could be due to its metabolism into an active fragment; however, all 4- and 5-mer hydrolysis products were inactive. This pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic dichotomy is discussed. Compound 1 is a candidate for development as a first-in-class analgesic.

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