A small series of novel, imidazoles 4 have been prepared that exhibit very good binding affinities for the delta and mu opioid receptors (ORs), as well as demonstrate potent agonist functional activity at the delta OR. Representative imidazole 4a (K(i) delta = 0.9 nM; K(i) mu = 55 nM; K(i) kappa = 124 nM; EC(50) delta =13-25 nM) was further profiled for OR related in vivo effects. Compound 4a reduced gastrointestinal (GI) propulsive motility in a dose-dependent and naloxone-reversible manner, based on the results of the mouse glass bead expulsion test (3, 5, and 10 mg/kg, ip) and the mouse fecal pellet output test (1 and 3 mg/kg, ip). Compound 4a showed no analgesic activity as measured by the mouse abdominal irritant test (MAIT) when dosed at 100 mg/kg, sc, but did show significant MAIT activity at doses of both 10 microg (40% inhibition) and 100 microg (100% inhibition) when dosed intracerebroventricularly (icv). Taken together, these in vivo results suggest that 4a acts peripherally when dosed systemically, and that these prototypical compounds may prove promising as medicinal leads for GI indications.