New gonadotropin-releasing hormone glycolipids with direct antiproliferative activity and gonadotropin-releasing potency

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Graphical abstract

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is an endogenous peptide with a short biological half-life. Although GnRH analogs (eg. triptorelin) are developed with enhanced stability compared to the native peptide, they still suffer from poor biological stability and pharmacokinetic properties. Furthermore, they are only effective in the treatment of hormone-dependent reproductive cancers. In this study we applied lipidation and glycosylation along with D-amino acid substitution at position 6 (D-Trp6) to improve the stability, permeability, and consequently the potency of the GnRH peptide and triptorelin. We showed that the conjugation of GnRH with a lipid moiety and carbohydrates made all modified constructs (1-8) more stable than the parent peptide against enzymatic degradation (5.5-6.5 times). Two of the lactose-modified glycolipopeptides, 3 and 6, showed 27 and 16 times higher membrane permeability than the parent GnRH, respectively. All analogs with D-Trp6-substitution (4-6) exerted GnRH receptor-mediated antiproliferative activity in prostate and ovarian GnRH-receptor positive cell lines. They were more potent than triptorelin in the hormone-independent prostate cancer cell line: DU145. Compound 6 (lactose-modified) was the most potent analog for stimulating the release of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) gonadotropins from rat pituitary cells in vitro. The same glycolipopeptide exhibited a higher efficacy and duration of action in stimulating the release of LH than triptorelin in a preclinical mouse model. The superior activity of lipid- and carbohydrate-substituted triptorelin analog 6 made it a promising candidate for the development of new GnRH agonists to treat both hormone-dependent and hormone-refractory prostate cancer.

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