Two dermorphin analogues having an almost identical structure but different structural flexibility were compared for opioid activity. In 1 the aromatic side chains were incorporated into a lactam structure, while in 2N-amide alkylation was retained but the side chains were flexible. Both compounds produced comparable antinociceptive effects in the mouse tail flick test after peripheral administration. This indicates that lipophilicity, rather than side chain flexibility, is the key determinant for blood−CNS barrier penetration.
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