2022 Volume 45 Issue 8 Pages 1203-1207
The opioid system in the central nervous system regulates depressive-like behavior in animals. Opioid receptors and their endogenous ligands have been focused on as novel therapeutic targets for depression. We synthesized dermorphin (DRM)-dynorphin (DYN) analogs (DRM-DYN001–004) using the message-address concept concerning interactions with opioid receptors. It has previously been reported that DRM-DYN001, 003, and 004 have shown high affinities for μ- and κ-opioid receptors, whereas all analogs had a lower affinity for the δ-opioid receptor than for other receptors using a receptor binding assay. However, it remains unknown whether these analogs show antidepressant-like effects in mice. We examined the effects of DRM-DYN analogs on the duration of immobile behavior in a tail suspension test. Intracerebroventricular administration of DRM-DYN001 in mice shortened the duration of immobile behavior, but did not affect locomotion. The DRM-DYN001-induced antidepressant-like effect was inhibited by co-administration of naloxone (non-selective opioid receptor antagonist), naloxonazine (selective μ1-opioid receptor antagonist), or nor-BNI (κ-opioid receptor antagonist), but not naltrindole (δ-opioid receptor antagonist). These data suggest that DRM-DYN001 exerts an antidepressant-like effect via activation of the central μ1- and κ-opioid receptors in mice and may represent a new lead peptide for further investigation for the development of novel therapeutic approaches for depression.