Metabolism-based brain-targeting system for a thyrotropin-releasing hormone analogue

Laszlo Prokai, Katalin Prokai-Tatrai, Xudong Ouyang, Ho Seung Kim, Whei Mei Wu, Alevtina Zharikova, Nicholas Bodor

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34 Scopus citations


Gln-Leu-Pro-Gly, a progenitor sequence for the thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) analogue [Leu2]TRH (pGlu-Leu-Pro-NH2), was covalently and bioreversibly modified on its N- and C-termini (by a 1,4-dihydrotrigonellyl and a cholesteryl group, respectively) to create lipoidal brain-targeting systems for the TRH analogue. The mechanism of targeting and the recovery of the parent peptide at the target site involve several enzymatic steps, including the oxidation of the 1,4-dihydropyridine moiety. Due to the lipid insolubility of the peptide pyridinium conjugate obtained after this reaction, one of the rudimentary steps of brain targeting (i.e., trapping in the central nervous system) can be accomplished. Our design also included spacer amino acid(s) inserted between the N-terminal residue of the progenitor sequence and the dihydrotrigonellyl group to facilitate the posttargeting removal of the attached modification. The release of the TRH analogue in the brain is orchestrated by a sequential metabolism utilizing esterase/lipase, peptidyl glycine α-amidating monooxygenase (PAM), peptidase cleavage, and glutaminyl cyclase. In addition to in vitro experiments to prove the designed mechanism of action, the efficacy of brain targeting for [Leu2]TRH administered in the form of chemical-targeting systems containing the embedded progenitor sequence was monitored by the antagonistic effect of the peptide on the barbiturate-induced anesthesia (measure of the activational effect on cholinergic neurons) in mice, and considerable improvement was achieved over the efficacy of the parent peptide upon using this paradigm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4563-4571
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number22
StatePublished - 4 Nov 1999


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