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J Med Chem. 2004 Jun 3;47(12):3009-18.

Synthesis, molecular modeling, and biological studies of novel piperidine-based analogues of cocaine: evidence of unfavorable interactions proximal to the 3alpha-position of the piperidine ring.

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  • 1Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy (MC 781), University of Illinois at Chicago, 833 S. Wood Street 539, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


A qualitative model for the binding pocket proximal to the 3alpha-substituent of the piperidine-based monoamine transporter ligands was proposed and tested. Based on this model, a new series of druglike 3alpha-modified piperidine-based analogues of cocaine were designed, synthesized, and studied for their ability to inhibit reuptake of DA, 5-HT, and NE by the DA, 5-HT, and NE transporters. We found that the insertion of at least one additional methylene group between the piperidine ring and the polar group in the 3alpha-substituent dramatically improves the activity of the compounds that are generally inactive without this additional linker. Molecular modeling analysis showed that the more flexible 3alpha-substituents can avoid unfavorable interactions with the binding sites of DAT, SERT, and NET. The present results may have important implications for the elucidation of the structural differences between DA, 5-HT, and NE transporters and for the further design of new leads for development of cocaine abuse medication as well as certain neurological disorders such as ADHD and depression.

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