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30 January 2007

Synthesis and pharmacological analysis of a morphine/substance P chimeric molecule with full analgesic potency in morphine-tolerant rats

Richard M Kream, Nai-Jiang Liu, Maojuan Zhuang, Pamela L. Esposito, Thomas R. Esposito, George B Stefano, John J. Witmeyer III

Med Sci Monit 2007; 13(2): BR25-31 :: ID: 473721


Background: We have previously explored the functional role of the tachykinin substance P (SP) in the mediation of opioid-dependent antinociception and now describe the formulation, synthesis, and initial pharmacological characterization of a hybrid chimeric molecule, designated MSP9, containing
the mu opioid receptor (MOR) agonist morphine covalently attached through a succinic acid linker to the SP receptor (SPR) agonist domain SP3-11.
Material/Methods: Pharmacological characterization of MSP9, administered by the intramuscular route, was achieved in naive and morphine-tolerant male rats utilizing the tail-fl ick test.
Results: MSP9 produced signifi cant antinociceptive responses across a wide concentration range and displayed an atypical bell-shaped analgesic dose response relationship with peak effect of 40±10% reached at 0.2 mg/kg. The antinociceptive responses achieved by very low concentrations of MSP9
were not obtained by administration of equivalent low doses of morphine, suggesting that kinetic and dynamic parameters may contribute to its unusual analgesic properties. Importantly, MSP9 produces a strong antinociceptive response when administered to morphine-tolerant rats, suggesting
a signifi cant activation of kappa and/or delta receptors (KORs and DORs, respectively) in the presence of functionally down regulated MORs.
Conclusions: Analyses employing selective, blood brain barrier (BBB) permeable, opioid and SP antagonists administered alone or in combination, indicate an obligate requirement for coincident activation of populations of CNS opioid and SP receptors. These combined data suggest that MSP9 activates multiple opioid- and SPR-expressing systems functionally linked to CNS analgesic responses, designating this class of hybrid chimeric molecules as prime candidates for therapeutic development for a wide range of clinical indications.

Keywords: Drug Tolerance, Morphine - pharmacology, Morphine Dependence - drug therapy, Narcotics - pharmacology, Pain Measurement, Substance P - pharmacology

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750