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J Pharmacol Exp Ther June 1, 2002; 301 (3): 981-6.
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The arginine-rich hexapeptide R4W2 is a stereoselective antagonist at the vanilloid receptor 1: a Ca2+ imaging study in adult rat dorsal root ganglion neurons.

Himmel HM , Kiss T , Borvendeg SJ , Gillen C , Illes P .

Vanilloid receptors (VR) integrate various painful stimuli, e.g., noxious heat, acidic pH, capsaicin, and resiniferatoxin (RTX). Although VR antagonists may be useful analgesics, the available agents capsazepine and ruthenium red lack the necessary potency and selectivity. Recently, submicromolar concentrations of the arginine-rich hexapeptide RRRRWW-NH(2) (R(4)W(2)) blocked VR-mediated ionic currents in a Xenopus expression system in a noncompetitive and nonstereoselective manner. Here, VR-antagonistic effects of L-R(4)W(2) and D-R(4)W(2), hexapeptides consisting entirely of L- and D-amino acids, were characterized in native adult rat dorsal root ganglion neurons using [Ca(2+)](i) imaging (Fura-2/acetoxymethyl ester). Fura-2 fluorescence ratio (R) was increased by RTX and capsaicin by 0.473 +/- 0.098 unit above basal levels of 0.903 +/- 0.011 (R(max), 2.289 +/- 0.031; R(min), 0.657 +/- 0.007) in a concentration-dependent manner (log EC(50): RTX, -10.04 +/- 0.05, n = 10; capsaicin, -6.60 +/- 0.10, n = 11). Agonist concentration-response curves were shifted to the right by L- and D-R(4)W(2) (0.1, 1, and 10 microM each) and by capsazepine (3, 10, 30, and 100 microM), whereas their maximal effects and slopes remained unaffected, indicating competitive antagonism. Schild analysis for L-R(4)W(2) yielded apparent dissociation constants of 4.0 nM (RTX) and 3.7 nM (capsaicin), and slopes smaller than unity (RTX, 0.38; capsaicin, 0.42). Apparent dissociation constants and slopes for D-R(4)W(2) and capsaicin were 153 nM and 0.67 versus 4.1 microM and 1.19 for capsazepine and capsaicin. Thus, VR-mediated effects in native dorsal root ganglion neurons were antagonized by L-R(4)W(2) > D-R(4)W(2) > capsazepine (order of potency). In conclusion, the R(4)W(2) hexapeptide is a potent, stereospecific, and (probably) competitive VR antagonist, although an allosteric interaction cannot be completely ruled out.

PubMed ID: 12023528
Article link: J Pharmacol Exp Ther