Novel derivatives of 2-pyridinemethylamine as selective, potent, and orally active agonists at 5-HT1A receptors

B Vacher, B Bonnaud, P Funes, N Jubault, W Koek, M B Assié, C Cosi, M Kleven
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 1999 May 6, 42 (9): 1648-60
The aim of this work was to improve the oral bioavailability of a recently discovered, novel structural class of 5-HT1A receptor agonists: aryl-{[4-(6-R-pyridin-2-ylmethyl)-amino]-methyl}-piperidin-1 -yl-metha none. Incorporation of a fluorine atom in the beta-position to the amino function in the side chain led to analogues that exhibited, in general, enhanced and long-lasting 5-HT1A agonist activity in rats after oral administration. Location of the fluorine atom at the C-4 position of the piperidine ring was the most favorable, and among the various substituents tested, the ability of the fluorine was unique in improving the oral activity of this family of ligands. Thus, the derivatives 39, 46, and 61 bound with higher affinity and selectivity to 5-HT1A receptors (versus dopaminergic D2 and adrenergic alpha1 receptors) and displayed more potent 5-HT1A agonist activity in vitro and in vivo than their C-4 desfluoro analogues. To examine the relationship between the conformation of the pharmacophore and the level of agonistic activity of this type of ligand, we synthesized a series of 3-chloro-4-fluorophenyl-(4-fluoro-4{[(5-(H or CH3)-6-R-pyridin-2-ylmethyl)-amino]-methyl}-piperidin-1-yl-+ ++methanone derivatives and found that the combination of a 5-methyl and a 6-methylamino substituent on the pyridine ring synergistically affected their 5-HT1A agonist properties. Thus, the 3-chloro-4-fluorophenyl-(4-fluoro-4{[(5-methyl-6-methylamino-pyridin- 2-ylmethyl)-amino]-methyl}-piperidin-1-yl-methanone 40 behaved as a more potent 5-HT1A receptor agonist in vitro and in vivo than its 5-unsubstituted analogue 38. The antidepressant potential of the lead compounds 40, 45, and 54 was examined by means of the forced swimming test (FST) in rats. The results indicated that, after a single oral administration, these compounds inhibited immobility in the FST more potently and more extensively than the clinically used antidepressant imipramine. Thus, 40, 45, and 54 are potent, orally active 5-HT1A receptor agonists with marked antidepressant potential.

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