DPI-289, a novel mixed delta opioid agonist / mu opioid antagonist (DAMA), has L-DOPA-sparing potential in Parkinson's disease.

Tom H. Johnston, Eboo Versi, Patrick A. Howson, Paula Ravenscroft, Susan H. Fox, Michael P. Hill, Bruce E. Reidenberg, Ronald Corey, Jonathan M. Brotchie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia (LID) remains a significant problem in the management of Parkinson's disease (PD). In rodent and macaque models of PD, delta opioid receptor agonists have anti-parkinsonian actions while mu opioid antagonists can reduce the expression of LID. DPI-289 is a novel molecule with a unique combination of opioid receptor DAMA actions: delta agonist (Ki: 0.73 nM); mu antagonist (Ki: 12 nM). We demonstrated that DPI-289 has oral bioavailability and established its pharmacokinetic profile in both rat and primate. We hypothesised that these combined DAMA actions would provide an enhancement of L-DOPA effect without an associated increase in dyskinesia. In parkinsonian 6-OHDA lesioned rats and MPTP-lesioned macaques, DPI-289 provided anti-parkinsonian actions as monotherapy and an enhancement of L-DOPA benefit. Thus, acute administration of DPI-289 (3 mg/kg, p.o.) to 6-OHDA-lesioned rats produced a significant reduction in forelimb asymmetry (by 48%) that was maintained throughout the fifteen-day repeat-treatment period. Importantly, and in contrast to L-DOPA administration (6 mg/kg, i.p.), these benefits were not compromised by the development of abnormal involuntary movements. In the macaque, as monotherapy, DPI-289 (10 and 20 mg/kg) had significant, though incomplete, anti-parkinsonian actions lasting approximately 4 h. These benefits were not associated with dyskinesia. In fact, over the 6 h period of observation, DPI-289 (20 mg/kg) decreased parkinsonism by 19% and increased activity by 67% compared to vehicle treatment. By contrast, while high-dose L-DOPA (LDh) alone alleviated parkinsonism (for 3 h) this benefit was accompanied by significant dyskinesia that was disabling in nature. LDh provided a 50% reduction in parkinsonism over 6 h and 151% increase in activity. The combination of DPI-289 (20 mg/kg) and a low-dose of L-DOPA (LDl) provided anti-parkinsonian benefits greater than LDl alone without eliciting any significant dyskinesia. Treatment with LDl alone provided only transient statistically significant anti-parkinsonian benefit. However, the combination of LDl and DPI-289 reduced parkinsonism for 6 h (duration of monitoring), with parkinsonism being reduced by 35% and activity increased by 90% but with no increase in dyskinesia over that observed with LDl alone. Thus, DPI-289 has potential to improve the benefits of dopaminergic therapy in Parkinson's disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-127
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Dyskinesia
  • L-DOPA
  • Opioids
  • Parkinson's disease


Dive into the research topics of 'DPI-289, a novel mixed delta opioid agonist / mu opioid antagonist (DAMA), has L-DOPA-sparing potential in Parkinson's disease.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this