The broad, long-term goal of this application is to discover and develop pharmacotherapies for the treatment of substance abuse. Since stress can increase drug-taking behavior, we will develop potent and selective ? opioid receptor antagonists as potential new pharmacotherapies to help addicts not relapse to drug taking. Importantly, compounds developed will also serve as biochemical and pharmacological probes useful in gaining a better understanding of the biochemical and molecular mechanisms of cocaine, methamphetamine, nicotine, alcohol, and opiate addictions. Significant research findings directed toward the specific aims of the current grant were achieved. Our progress to date has led to the identification of several compounds that are potent and selective : opioid receptor antagonists in in vitro efficacy assays. The compounds are small molecules that are expected to penetrate the CNS and have high stability. Thus, these compounds are highly useful lead structures that require further development in pharmacokinetic (PK) and animal behavioral studies before their merit as potential pharmacotherapies for treating substance abuse can be determined. The proposed research continues to be based on the original hypothesis that pharmacotherapies for treating substance abuse can be discovered and developed through lead optimization of novel compounds from the : opioid receptor research area. Our general approach will be to design and synthesize compounds based on the (a) trans-3,4-dimethyl-4-(3-hydroxyphenyl)piperidine, (b) 42- and 92-methyl-5-(3-hydroxy- phenyl)morphan, (c) 4a-(3-hydroxyphenyl)-8a-methyldecahydroisoquinoline, (d) 3-[4-(substituted piperazin-1- yl)]phenol, and (e) N-substituted 4-(3-hydroxyphenyl)-4-methylazabicyclo[3.1.0]hexane classes of opioid antagonist. The merit of the compounds as potent and selective ? opioid antagonists will be obtained by monitoring the ability of the test compounds to inhibit stimulated [35S]GTP3S binding produced by selective ?, d, and ? agonists using cloned human opioid receptors expressed in CHO cells. Analogs meeting set criteria for ? potency and selectivity will be evaluated in an in vivo PK study to determine the ability of the compounds to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and to have an appropriate half-life (t1/2). Compounds that have high potency and selectivity for ? opioid receptors and that have suitable brain levels and t1/2 values in the PK studies will be evaluated for their ability to antagonize ? selective agonist U50,488-induced diuresis in rats in order to establish their ? opioid receptor antagonist profile (potency and duration of action relative to JDTic). Information generated will be used to select compounds for evaluation in a foot-shock-induced reinstatement of responding for cocaine relapse test. Compounds that show AD50 values in this test comparable to the AD50 of the ? opioid antagonist JDTic, which is in preclinical development, will warrant further development.

Public Health Relevance

Drug abuse, addiction, and dependence remain major threats to public health. Development of new pharmacotherapies to treat cocaine, methamphetamine, nicotine, heroin, and ethanol addictions would be a major medical and societal breakthrough. This application addresses these problems by proposing to identify and develop selective ? opioid receptor antagonists as new pharmacotherapies to treat patients addicted to drugs of abuse.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-MDCN-C (91))
Program Officer
Kline, Richard
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Research Triangle Institute
Research Triangle
United States
Zip Code
Lazenka, Matthew L; Moerke, Megan J; Townsend, E Andrew et al. (2018) Dissociable effects of the kappa opioid receptor agonist nalfurafine on pain/itch-stimulated and pain/itch-depressed behaviors in male rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 235:203-213
Kormos, Chad M; Ondachi, Pauline W; Runyon, Scott P et al. (2017) Simple Tetrahydroisoquinolines Are Potent and Selective Kappa Opioid Receptor Antagonists. ACS Med Chem Lett 8:742-745
Wells, Audrey M; Ridener, Elysia; Bourbonais, Clinton A et al. (2017) Effects of Chronic Social Defeat Stress on Sleep and Circadian Rhythms Are Mitigated by Kappa-Opioid Receptor Antagonism. J Neurosci 37:7656-7668
Runyon, Scott P; Kormos, Chad M; Gichinga, Moses G et al. (2016) Design, Synthesis, and Biological Evaluation of Structurally Rigid Analogues of 4-(3-Hydroxyphenyl)piperidine Opioid Receptor Antagonists. J Org Chem 81:10383-10391
Kormos, Chad M; Gichinga, Moses G; Runyon, Scott P et al. (2016) Design, synthesis, and pharmacological evaluation of JDTic analogs to examine the significance of replacement of the 3-hydroxyphenyl group with pyridine or thiophene bioisosteres. Bioorg Med Chem 24:3842-8
Donahue, Rachel J; Landino, Samantha M; Golden, Sam A et al. (2015) Effects of acute and chronic social defeat stress are differentially mediated by the dynorphin/kappa-opioid receptor system. Behav Pharmacol 26:654-63
Buda, Jeffrey J; Carroll, F I; Kosten, Thomas R et al. (2015) A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial to Evaluate the Safety, Tolerability, and Pharmacokinetics of Single, Escalating Oral Doses of JDTic. Neuropsychopharmacology 40:2059-65
Taylor, A M W; Roberts, K W; Pradhan, A A et al. (2015) Anti-nociception mediated by a ? opioid receptor agonist is blocked by a ? receptor agonist. Br J Pharmacol 172:691-703
Carroll, F Ivy; Gichinga, Moses G; Kormos, Chad M et al. (2015) Design, synthesis, and pharmacological evaluation of JDTic analogs to examine the significance of the 3- and 4-methyl substituents. Bioorg Med Chem 23:6379-88
Carroll, F Ivy; Dolle, Roland E (2014) The discovery and development of the N-substituted trans-3,4-dimethyl-4-(3'-hydroxyphenyl)piperidine class of pure opioid receptor antagonists. ChemMedChem 9:1638-54

Showing the most recent 10 out of 64 publications