Pharmacological characterisation of [(pX)Phe4]nociceptin(1-13)NH2 analogues. 2. In vivo studies

Anna Rizzi, Maria Bonaria Salis, Roberto Ciccocioppo, Giuliano Marzola, Raffaella Bigoni, Remo Guerrini, Maurizio Massi, Paolo Madeddu, Severo Salvadori, Domenico Regoli, Girolamo Calo'

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


As part of a structure-activity study focused on the Phe(4) residue of nociceptin (NC) (1-13)NH(2), we identified two highly potent and selective agonists for the OP(4) receptor, [(pF)Phe(4)]NC(1-13)NH(2) and [(pNO(2))Phe(4)]NC(1-13)NH(2), whose in vitro pharmacological profiles have been described in the companion paper. In the present study, we investigated the actions of [(pF)Phe(4)]NC(1-13)NH(2) and compared it with those of NC(1-13)NH(2) in a battery of vivo assays. In the locomotor activity test in mice, 1 nmol NC(1-13)NH(2) given intracerebroventricularly (i.c.v.) caused a significant decrease (about 70% inhibition) in activity for the first 15 min following injection; [(pF)Phe(4)]NC(1-13)NH(2), at the same dose, exerted a similar inhibitory effect that continued until the end of the observation period (30 min). This effect was prevented by the selective OP(4) receptor antagonist [Nphe(1)]NC(1-13)NH(2) (10 nmol, i.c.v.). In the tail-withdrawal assay in mice, [(pF)Phe(4)]NC(1-13)NH(2) mimicked the effects of NC(1-13)NH(2) producing pronociceptive and antimorphine effects following i.c.v. administration. In both experimental paradigms, the actions of [(pF)Phe(4)]NC(1-13)NH(2) were longer lasting (>60 min) compared to those of NC(1-13)NH(2) (ca. 30 min). In unanaesthetised normotensive mice, bolus intravenous (i.v.) injection of 100 nmol/kg of [(pF)Phe(4)]NC(1-13)NH(2) decreased mean blood pressure and heart rate; these effects were longer lasting than those elicited by the same dose of NC(1-13)NH(2). I.c.v. administration of [(pF)Phe(4)]NC(1-13)NH(2) dose-dependently stimulated feeding in rats, and was about tenfold more potent than NC(1-13)NH(2).Collectively, the present data demonstrate that, in a variety of in vivo assays, NC(1-13)NH(2) and [(pF)Phe(4)]NC(1-13)NH(2) mimicked the actions of NC. [(pF)Phe(4)]NC(1-13)NH(2) was more potent and its in vivo effects were longer lasting than those of NC(1-13)NH(2) and NC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-6
Number of pages7
JournalNaunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives in Pharmacology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2002


  • Animals
  • Eating
  • Hemodynamics
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Motor Activity
  • Opioid Peptides
  • Pain Measurement
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Opioid
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


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