Synthesis and biological properties of gamma-glutamyl-dermorphin, a prodrug

Aleksandra Misicka, Iwona Maszczynska, Andrzej W. Lipkowski, Dagmar Stropova, Henry I. Yamamura, Victor J. Hruby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The possibility of using the gamma-glutamyl-transpeptidase system for transformation of inactive propeptide, gamma-glutamyl-neuropeptides into active neuropeptides has been tested on dermorphin and its gamma-glutamyl analogue. Gamma-glutamyl-dermorphin 2 showed little affinity for opioid receptors. Nonetheless, systemic (intraperitoneal (i.p.), or intravenous (i.v.)) application of this compound induced significant antinociceptive effects, although ten to twenty-fold higher doses were required compared to the parent dermorphin 1. On the other hand, the analogue 2 showed high, antinociceptive activity when injected intrathecally (i.t.). When compared to dermorphin, 2 was one third as potent, but did show a significant prolonged duration of the effect. These results suggest that in the periphery, the peptidase metabolism which results in degradation of bioactivity, is offset by gammaglutamyl transpeptidase (GGTP) activity that liberates bioactive peptide 2. On the other hand, in the central nervous system, the activity of gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase system seems to be more effective than other peptidase systems, resulting in formation of active peptide 2 in a significant amount. These data suggests that gamma-glutamyl analogues of neuropeptides can be considered as potential prodrugs, especially for synthetic analogues which themselves are resistant to peptidase action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)905-911
Number of pages7
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Feb 9 1996


  • Antinociception
  • Dermorphin
  • Gamma-glutamyl-dermorphin
  • Gamma-glutamyl-transpeptidase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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