Some pharmacological properties of cyclic and linear analogs obtained by substituting each residue of an oxytocin antagonist with d‐tryptophan


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We synthesized 10 analogs (1–10) derived from the sequence of [Pmp1, D‐Trp2, Arg8]oxytocin, (parent antagonist or PA), (Pmp =β,β‐pentamethylene‐β‐mercaptopropionic acid) which is a potent antagonist (pA2= 7.77) of the uterotonic effect of oxytocin (OT) in rats, as determined in our uterotonic assay. Eight of the following analogs were designed by replacement of each residue in the PA sequence, other than the residue at position 2, with d‐tryptophan: Ac‐d‐Trp‐d‐Trp‐Ile‐Gln‐Asn‐Val‐Pro‐Arg‐Gly‐NH2, (1); [Pmp1, d‐Trp(For)2, Arg8] OT, (2); [Pmp1, d‐Trp2, d‐Trp3, Arg8] OT, (3); [Pmp1, D‐Trp2, d‐Trp4, Arg8] OT, (4); [Pmp1, d‐Trp2, d‐Trp5, Arg8] OT, (5); Aaa‐d‐Trp‐Ile‐Gln‐Asn‐d‐Trp‐Pro‐Arg‐Gly‐NH2, (6); [Pmp1, d‐Trp2, d‐Trp7, Arg8] OT, (7); [Pmp1, d‐Trp2, d‐Trp8] OT, (8); [Pmp1, d‐Trp2, Arg8, d‐Trp9] OT, (9); [Pmp1d‐Trp2, Arg8, d‐Trp(For)9] OT, (10). To avoid free mercaptan groups, Val6 was chosen in analog 1 instead of Cys and Aaa1 (Aaa = 1‐adamantaneacetic acid) in analog 6 instead of Pmp1. Of the linear analogs, 1 was inactive as an OT antagonist and 6 was a very poor antagonist, with a pA2= 5.66, but it was more potent than Aaa‐d‐Trp‐Ile‐Gln‐Asn‐Val‐Pro‐Arg‐Gly‐NH2, which has a pA2= 5.33, as we had previously reported. Analog 2, featuring d‐Trp(For)2, pA2= 7.37, was weaker than PA, indicating that the formyl group lowers potency. Analogs 3 and 4 were much weaker than PA, and analog 5 was inactive. Hence, other than at position 2, d‐Trp is undesirable in the ring sequence of PA. However, analogs featuring d‐substituents in the tail portion of PA were good antagonists. Replacement with d‐Trp7 gave antagonist 7, pA2= 7.92, which is somewhat more potent than PA. Replacement with d‐Trp9 gave antagonist 9, pA2= 8.18, which is about 2.5 times more potent than PA, although d‐Trp(For)9, introduced in analog 10, pA2= 8.10, was not as potent. Replacement with d‐Trp8 results in analog 8, pA2= 7.83, equipotent with PA. In the antidiuretic assay analogs 7, 8, and 9, each with a pA2 equal to or less than < 5.6, were very weak antagonists of the antidiuretic hormone, arginine vasopressin (AVP). Hence, the potent analogs 7, 9, and especially 8 which, unlike AVP or the usual OT antagonists, lacks a basic amino acid, are important leads for future design of highly potent and probably, more selective OT antagonists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-175
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Peptide and Protein Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • antagonists
  • antidiuretic
  • antioxytocic
  • d‐tryptophan
  • oxytocin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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