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J Med Chem. 1997 Sep 12;40(19):3100-8.

Evolution of the Dmt-Tic pharmacophore: N-terminal methylated derivatives with extraordinary delta opioid antagonist activity.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Science, University of Ferrara, Italy.


The delta opioid antagonist H-Dmt-Tic-OH (2',6'-dimethyl-L-tyrosyl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline-3-carboxylic acid) exhibits extraordinary delta receptor binding characteristics [Ki delta = 0.022 nM; Ki mu/Ki delta = 150,000] and delta antagonism (pA2 = 8.2; Ke = 5.7 nM). A change in chirality of Dmt at C alpha (1, 2, 6, 8, 10, 13) curtailed delta receptor parameters, while replacement of its alpha-amino function by a methyl group (3) led to inactivity; Tyr-Tic analogues 4 and 11 weakly interacted with delta receptors. N-Alkylation of H-Dmt-Tic-OH and H-Dmt-Tic-Ala-OH with methyl groups produced potent delta-opioid ligands with high delta receptor binding capabilities and enhanced delta antagonism: (i) N-Me-Dmt-Tic-OH 5 had high delta opioid binding (Ki delta = 0.2 nM), elevated delta antagonism on mouse vas deferens (MVD) (pA2 = 8.5; Ke = 2.8 nM), and nondetectable mu activity with guinea pig ileum (GPI). (ii) N,N-Me2-Dmt-Tic-OH (12) was equally efficacious in delta receptor binding (Ki delta = 0.12 nM; Ki mu/Ki delta = 20000), but delta antagonism rose considerably (pA2 = 9.4; Ke = 0.28 nM) with weak mu antagonism (pA2 = 5.8; Ke = 1.58 microM; GPI/MVD = 1:5640). N-Me-(9) and N,N-Me2-Dmt-Tic-Ala-OH (15) also augmented delta opioid receptor binding, such that 15 demonstrated high affinity (Ki delta = 0.0755 nM) and selectivity (Ki mu/Ki delta = 20132) with exceptional antagonist activity on MVD (pA2 = 9.6; Ke = 0.22 nM) and weak antagonism on GPI (pA2 = 5.8; Ke = 1.58 microM; GPI/MVD = 1:7180). Although the amidated dimethylated dipeptide analogue 14 had high Ki delta (0.31 nM) and excellent antagonist activity (pA2 = 9.9; Ke = 0.12 nM), the increased activity toward mu receptors in the absence of a free acid function at the C-terminus revealed modest delta selectivity (Ki mu/Ki delta = 1655) and somewhat comparable bioactivity (GPI/MVD = 4500). Thus, the data demonstrate that N,N-(Me)2-Dmt-Tic-OH (12) and N,N-Me2-Dmt-Tic-Ala-OH (15) retained high delta receptor affinities and delta selectivities and acquired enhanced potency in pharmacological bioassays on MVD greater than that of other peptide or non-peptide delta antagonists.

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