Browsing UA Faculty Research by Subjects
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Brain site-specific regulation of hedonic intake by orexin and DYN peptides: role of the PVN and obesityThe orexin peptides promote hedonic intake and other reward behaviors through different brain sites. The opioid dynorphin peptides are co-released with orexin peptides but block their effects on reward in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). We previously showed that in the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus (PVN), dynorphin and not orexin peptides enhance hedonic intake, suggesting they have brain-site-specific effects. Obesity alters the expression of orexin and dynorphin receptors, but whether their expression across different brain sites is important to hedonic intake is unclear. We hypothesized that hedonic intake is regulated by orexin and dynorphin peptides in PVN and that hedonic intake in obesity correlates with expression of their receptors. Here we show that in mice, injection of DYN-A1-13 (an opioid dynorphin peptide) in the PVN enhanced hedonic intake, whereas in the VTA, injection of OXA (orexin-A, an orexin peptide) enhanced hedonic intake. In PVN, OXA blunted the increase in hedonic intake caused by DYN-A1-13. In PVN, injection of norBNI (opioid receptor antagonist) reduced hedonic intake but a subsequent OXA injection failed to increase hedonic intake, suggesting that OXA activity in PVN is not influenced by endogenous opioid activity. In the PVN, DYN-A1-13 increased the intake of the less-preferred food in a two-food choice task. In obese mice fed a cafeteria diet, orexin 1 receptor mRNA across brain sites involved in hedonic intake correlated with fat preference but not caloric intake. Together, these data support that orexin and dynorphin peptides regulate hedonic intake in an opposing manner with brain-site-specific effects.
Cyclic Opioid Peptides.For decades the opioid receptors have been an attractive therapeutic target for the treatment of pain. Since the first discovery of enkephalin, approximately a dozen endogenous opioid peptides have been known to produce opioid activity and analgesia, but their therapeutics have been limited mainly due to low blood brain barrier penetration and poor resistance to proteolytic degradation. One versatile approach to overcome these drawbacks is the cyclization of linear peptides to cyclic peptides with constrained topographical structure. Compared to their linear parents, cyclic analogs exhibit better metabolic stability, lower offtarget toxicity, and improved bioavailability. Extensive structure-activity relationship studies have uncovered promising compounds for the treatment of pain as well as further elucidate structural elements required for selective opioid receptor activity. The benefits that come with employing cyclization can be further enhanced through the generation of polycyclic derivatives. Opioid ligands generally have a short peptide chain and thus the realm of polycyclic peptides has yet to be explored. In this review, a brief history of designing ligands for the opioid receptors, including classic linear and cyclic ligands, is discussed along with recent approaches and successes of cyclic peptide ligands for the receptors. Various scaffolds and approaches to improve bioavailability are elaborated and concluded with a discourse towards polycyclic peptides.