Differential effects of CB1 and opioid agonists on two populations of adult rat dorsal root ganglion neurons.
A series of heterocyclic analogues 2-5 related to naltrindole (1) (NTI) and 6-arylnaltrexone derivatives 6-8 were synthesized in order to determine the role of the spacer and the address moieties in conferring delta opioid receptor antagonist activity. The benzofuran (NTB), quinoxaline, and quinoline analogues (2, 3, and 4, respectively) were delta-selective opioid antagonists in vitro and bound selectively to delta receptors. The tetrahydroindole derivative 5, while delta-selective, was considerably less potent than its indole analogue 13. The data for 2-4 indicate that heterocycles other than pyrrole can serve as a spacer for the delta address moiety. Moreover, the lower delta antagonist potency of 5 illustrates the importance of the aromatic address component. Molecular dynamics simulations of enkephalin using a zipper binding model are consistent with a delta address subsite that may accommodate the benzene moiety of NTI or the Phe4 phenyl group of leucine enkephalin. The considerably lower delta opioid receptor antagonist potencies of the 6-aryl derivatives 6-8 are consistent with the conformational mobility of the aryl group and its location in the molecule.