Small molecule somatostatin receptor subtype 4 (sst4) agonists are novel anti-inflammatory and analgesic drug candidates

E. Szöke, Mónika Bálint, C. Hetényi, Adrienn Markovics, K. Elekes, G. Pozsgai, Tamás Szűts, György Kéri, L. Őrfi, Zoltán Sándor, János Szolcsányi, Erika Pintér, Z. Helyes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We provided strong proof of concept evidence that somatostatin mediates potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory actions via its receptor subtype 4 (sst4) located both at the periphery and the central nervous system. Therefore, sst4 agonists are promising novel drug candidates for neuropathic pain and neurogenic inflammation, but rational drug design was not possible due to the lack of knowledge about its 3-dimensional structure. We modeled the sst4 receptor structure, described its agonist binding properties, and characterized the binding of our novel small molecule sst4 agonists (4-phenetylamino-7H-pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidine derivatives) using an in silico platform. In addition to the in silico binding data, somatostatin displacement by Compound 1 was demonstrated in the competitive binding assay on sst4-expressing cells. In vivo effects were investigated in rat models of neurogenic inflammation and chronic traumatic neuropathic pain. We defined high- and low-affinity binding pockets of sst4 for our ligands, binding of the highest affinity compounds were similar to that of the reference ligand J-2156. We showed potent G-protein activation with the highest potency of 10 nM EC50 value and highest efficacy of 342%. Oral administration of 100 μg/kg of 5 compounds significantly inhibited acute neurogenic plasma protein extravasation in the paw skin by 40–60%, one candidate abolished and 3 others diminished sciatic nerve-ligation induced neuropathic hyperalgesia by 28–62%. The in silico predictions on sst4-ligands were tested in biological systems. Low oral dose of our novel agonists inhibit neurogenic inflammation and neuropathic pain, which opens promising drug developmental perspectives for these unmet medical need conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108198
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2020


  • Analgesic drug
  • Anti-inflammatory drug
  • Inflammation
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Somatostatin
  • Somatostatin receptor subtype 4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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