Neurotensin and neurotensin receptors: Characteristic, structure–activity relationship and pain modulation—A review

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Neurotensin (NT) is a tridecapeptide, which – since its discovery in 1973 – has been demonstrated to be involved in the control of various physiological activities in both the central nervous system and in the periphery. Its biological effects are mediated by four receptor types. Exogenously administered NT exerts different behavioral effects, including antinociception. Structure–activity relationship studies performed in recent years resulted in development of several peptidomimetic receptor agonists and non-peptidic receptor antagonists that are useful tools for studies of NT mechanisms in tissue and on cellular level. This may result in design of new generation of analgesics based on neurotensin. NT antinociceptive effects are distinct from opioid analgesia. This creates opportunity of development of hybride analgesics that may simultaneously activate both opioid and NT antinociceptive pathways.

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