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J Med Chem. 2012 Jun 28;55(12):5859-67. doi: 10.1021/jm300418d. Epub 2012 Jun 15.

Synthesis and biological evaluation of an orally active glycosylated endomorphin-1.

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School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia.


The endogenous opioid peptide endomorphin-1 (1) was modified by attachment of lactose to the N-terminus via a succinamic acid spacer to produce compound 2. The carbohydrate modification significantly improved the metabolic stability and membrane permeability of 2 while retaining μ-opioid receptor binding affinity and agonist activity. Analogue 2 produced dose-dependent antinociceptive activity following intravenous administration in a chronic constriction injury (CCI) rat model of neuropathic pain with an ED(50) of 8.3 (± 0.8) μmol/kg. The corresponding ED(50) for morphine was 2.6 (± 1.4) μmol/kg. Importantly, compound 2 produced dose-dependent pain relief after oral administration in CCI rats (ED(50) = 19.6 (± 1.2) μmol/kg), which was comparable with that of morphine (ED(50) = 20.7 (±3.6) μmol/kg). Antineuropathic effects of analogue 2 were significantly attenuated by pretreatment of animals with the opioid antagonist naloxone, confirming opioid receptor-mediated analgesia. In contrast to morphine, no significant constipation was produced by compound 2 after oral administration.

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