In vitro and in vivo pharmacological characterization of the nociceptin/orphanin FQ receptor ligand Ac-RYYRIK-ol

Özge Gündüz, Anna Rizzi, Anna Baldisserotto, Remo Guerrini, Barbara Spagnolo, Elaine C. Gavioli, László Kocsis, Anna Magyar, Sándor Benyhe, Anna Borsodi, Girolamo Calò

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It was recently reported that the hexapeptide Ac-RYYRIK-ol binds with high affinity nociceptin/orphanin FQ (N/OFQ) peptide (NOP) receptors and competitively antagonizes N/OFQ actions in the mouse vas deferens assay. Here we further describe the in vitro and in vivo pharmacological features of this NOP receptor ligand. In mouse brain homogenate the degradation half life of Ac-RYYRIK-ol (2.48 min) was significantly higher than that of the parent compound Ac-RYYRIK-NH2 (1.20 min). In the electrically stimulated mouse vas deferens, Ac-RYYRIK-ol (10-1000 nM) competitively antagonized the inhibitory effect of N/OFQ (pA2 = 8.46), while in the isolated mouse colon the hexapeptide mimicked N/OFQ contractile effects thus behaving as a NOP receptor agonist (pEC50 = 9.09). This latter effect was no longer evident in colon tissues taken from mice knock out for the NOP receptor gene (NOP-/-). In vivo in mice, similarly to N/OFQ, Ac-RYYRIK-ol (dose range 0.001-1 nmol) produced: i) pronociceptive effects after intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) administration and antinociceptive actions when given intrathecally (i.t.) in the tail withdrawal assay; ii) inhibition of locomotor activity and iii) stimulation of food intake after supraspinal administration. Finally, in the forced swimming test, Ac-RYYRIK-ol was inactive per se, but reversed the antidepressant-like effects elicited by the NOP receptor selective antagonist UFP-101 ([Nphe1,Arg14,Lys15]N/OFQ-NH2). Thus, in all these in vivo assays Ac-RYYRIK-ol mimicked the actions of N/OFQ showing however higher potency. In conclusion, Ac-RYYRIK-ol displayed a complex pharmacological profile which is likely due to the low efficacy agonist nature of this novel ligand of the NOP receptor. The high potency, selectivity of action, and in vivo effectiveness make Ac-RYYRIK-ol a useful pharmacological tool for future studies in the field of N/OFQ and its NOP receptor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-48
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 6 2006



  • (Mice)
  • Ac-RYYRIK-ol
  • Behavioral assay
  • Isolated tissue
  • NOP receptor
  • Nociceptin/orphanin FQ

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

Cite this

Gündüz, Ö., Rizzi, A., Baldisserotto, A., Guerrini, R., Spagnolo, B., Gavioli, E. C., Kocsis, L., Magyar, A., Benyhe, S., Borsodi, A., & Calò, G. (2006). In vitro and in vivo pharmacological characterization of the nociceptin/orphanin FQ receptor ligand Ac-RYYRIK-ol. European Journal of Pharmacology, 539(1-2), 39-48.