Endogenous opioid peptides enkephalin and dynorphin are major co-transmitters of striatofugal pathways of the basal ganglia. They are involved in the genesis of levodopa-induced dyskinesia and in the modulation of direct and indirect striatal output pathways that are disrupted in Parkinson's disease. One pharmacologic approach is to develop synthetic glycopeptides closely resembling endogenous peptides to restore their normal functions. Glycosylation promotes penetration of the blood-brain barrier. We investigated CNS penetration of the opioid glycopeptide MMP-2200, a mixed δ/μ-agonist based on leu-enkephalin, as measured by in vivo microdialysis and subsequent mass spectrometric analysis in awake, freely moving rats. The glycopeptide (10. mg/kg) reaches the dorsolateral striatum (DLS) rapidly after systemic (i.p.) administration and is stably detectable for the duration of the experiment (80. min). The detected level at the end of the experiment (around 250. pM) is about 10-fold higher than the level of the endogenous leu-enkephalin, measured simultaneously. This is one of the first studies to directly prove that glycosylation of an endogenous opioid peptide leads to excellent blood-brain barrier penetration after systemic injection, and explains robust behavioral effects seen in previous studies by measuring how much glycopeptide reaches the target structure, in this case the DLS.
- Glycopeptide, Blood-brain barrier penetration
- Mass spectrometry
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