Antinociceptive effects of central administration of the endogenous cannabinoid receptor type 1 agonist VDPVNFKLLSH-OH [(m)VD-hemopressin(α)], an N-terminally extended hemopressin peptide.J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2014 Feb; 348(2):316-23.JP
The cannabinoid system has been demonstrated to modulate the acute and chronic pain of multiple origins. Mouse VD-hemopressin(α) [(m)VD-Hpα], an 11-residue α-hemoglobin-derived peptide, was recently reported to function as a selective agonist of the cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB₁) in vitro. To characterize its behavioral and physiological properties, we investigated the in vivo effects of (m)VD-Hpα in mice. In the mouse tail-flick test, (m)VD-Hpα dose-dependently induced antinociception after supraspinal (EC₅₀ = 6.69 nmol) and spinal (EC₅₀ = 2.88 nmol) administration. The antinociceptive effects of (m)VD-Hpα (intracerebroventricularly and intrathecally) were completely blocked by N-(piperidin-1-yl)-5-(4-iodophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole-3- carboxamide (AM251; CB₁ antagonist), but not by 6-iodo-2-methyl-1-[2-(4-morpholinyl)ethyl]-1H-indol-3-yl(4-methoxyphenyl)-methanone (AM630; CB₂ antagonist) or naloxone (opioid antagonist), showing its selectivity to the CB₁ receptor. Furthermore, the central nervous system (CNS) effects of (m)VD-Hpα were evaluated in body temperature, locomotor activity, tolerance development, reward, and food intake assays. At the highly antinociceptive dose (3 × EC₅₀), (m)VD-Hpα markedly exerted hypothermia and hypoactivity after supraspinal administration. Repeated intracerebroventricular injection of (m)VD-Hpα resulted in both development of tolerance to antinociception and conditioned place aversion. In addition, central injection of (m)VD-Hpα dose-dependently stimulated food consumption. These findings demonstrate that this novel cannabinoid peptide agonist induces CB₁-mediated central antinociception with some CNS effects, which further supports a CB₁ agonist character of (m)VD-Hpα. Moreover, the current study will be helpful to understand the in vivo properties of the endogenous peptide agonist of the cannabinoid CB₁ receptor.