Institute of Crystallography - CNR

Identification of a novel adiponectin receptor and opioid receptor dual acting agonist as a potential treatment for diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy (DN) is a long-term complication of diabetes mellitus, affecting different periphery nerve systems including sensory and motor neurons. Hyperglycemia is the major cause of DN with symptoms such as weakness of balance or coordination, insensitivity to sensation, weakness of the muscles as well as numbness and pain in limbs Analgesic drug such as opioids can be effective to relief neuropathy pain but there is no effective treatment. Adiponectin is an anti-diabetic adipokine, which possesses insulin-sensitizing and neuroprotective effects. In this project, we aim to identify an agent which is dual acting to opioid and adiponectin receptors. Within a virtual screening repositioning campaign, a large collection of compounds with different structures comprehensive of adipoRon-like piperidine derivatives was screened by docking. Recently developed opioid receptor benzomorphanic agonists finally emerged as good ligands to adiponectin receptors showing some 2D and 3D structural similarities with AdipoRon. Particularly, we have identified (+)-MML1017, which has high affinity to the same binding domain of AdipoR1 and AdipoR2 as AdipoRon. Our western blot results indicate (+)-MML1017 activates AMPK phosphorylation through both adipoR1 and adipoR2 in neuronal cell line. Moreover, pretreatment of (+)-MML1017 can improve the cell viability with motor neurons under hyperglycermic conditions. The (+)-MML1017 also activates ?-opioid receptor cells in a concentration-dependent manner. Our study identified a novel compound having dual activity on opioid receptors and adiponectin receptors that may have analgesic effects and neuroprotective effects to treat diabetic neuropathy.

Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy
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Ma O.K.-F.; Ronsisvalle S.; Basile L.; Xiang A.W.; Tomasella C.; Sipala F.; Pappalardo M.; Chan K.-H.; Milardi D.; Ng R.C.-L.; Guccione S.
Authors IC CNR