“Adrenoswitches” or adrenergic switches, innovative molecules tested in vivoUsing unconventional analogs of a photosensitive molecule called azobenzene, researchers designed the new compounds. They demonstrated, first, that these “adrenoswitches” are capable, under the right conditions of illumination, of dilating blood vessels in rats (antihypertensive effect) and reducing mobility in zebrafish (sedative effect). The difference between commercialized molecules and the new “adrenoswitches” is that the latter are inactive in the dark, while illumination with violet light activates their action, so that their use can be better controlled. Eye dilators (mydrial agents) commonly used in various ophthalmic procedures have side effects. This is why the pharmaceutical industry is looking for new drugs that can disable their action after eye scanning. In contrast, researchers at IBEC envisioned a drug that would dilate the pupil only during the exam, and then de-activate, as soon as the light is gone.
Figure: The degree of dilation of the pupil is regulated by α-adrenoceptors located in the dilator muscle of the iris. Exposure to intense light induces spontaneous contraction of the pupil as a reflex mechanism to protect the retina. Adrenoswitch-1, a photochromic agonist α-adrenergetic, causes a response in blind mice after activation with violet light (B). In wild animals, the compound inhibited the pupillary reflex caused by violet (purple line), while the response to visible light remained (green line) (C) Source: Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2020.
The molecules that we have developed, called Adrenoswitches, could be a disruptive tool to selectively activate physiological processes with a beam of light, and develop safe and effective therapies.When tested in blind mice, whose pupils do not respond to illumination, the adrenoswitch-1 molecule triggered a pupil dilation which reversed when removing the light source. In wild animals, it inhibited the contraction reflex of the pupil by activating it with violet light. This finding is expected to allow extensive fundamental and therapeutic applications, as it combines the selectivity of pharmacological modulation with the precise properties of light.
Davia Prischich. IBEC investigator and principal author of the article.
Reference article: Davia Prischich, Alexandre M. J. Gomila, Santiago Milla-Navarro, Gemma Sangüesa, Rebeca Diez-Alarcia, Beatrice Preda, Carlo Matera, Montserrat Batlle, Laura Ramírez, Ernest Giralt, Jordi Hernando, Eduard Guasch, J. Javier Meana, Pedro de la Villa, Pau Gorostiza.Adrenergic modulation with photochromic ligands. Angewandte Chemie, International Edition. 2020.