Variation in the analgesic activity of opioid peptide fragments in correlation with the amino acidic sequence
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Short fragments of typical or atypical opioid peptides, lacking the whole four amino acid sequence of the enkephalin motif, can preserve a significant percentage of the analgesic activity of the original peptides. This paper investigates the importance of the amino-acidic sequence of minimum structure typical opioid peptides for the analgesic activity. Different groups of rats were treated with 1) Gly-Tyr, 0.5 mg/rat i.t., 2) Tyr-Gly, 0.5 mg/rat i.t., 3) Tyr-Gly-Gly, 0.5 mg/rat i.t., 4) Gly-Gly-Phe-Leu, 0.5 mg/rat i.t., 5) Leu-enkephalin, 0.5 mg/rat i.t.. The analgesic effect of the tested substances was appreciated through the nociceptive threshold for thermal (plantar test) and mechanical nociception (algesimetric test). Fragments of typical opioid peptides elicited antinociceptive activity only when a tyrosine residue was present at the N-terminal end of the amino-acidic sequence. The presence of Nterminal tyrosine provides affinity for the opioid receptors and significant analgesic activity. The intensity of the antinociceptive effect was directly proportional with the length of the amino-acidic sequence. The inhibition of the analgesic effect by previous administration of naloxone proves that this effect is mediated through the opioid system.
KeywordsAnalgesia amino acid sequence nociception opioid peptides tyrosine
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