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J Med Chem. 1999 Jun 3;42(11):1975-81.

Unique analogues of anandamide: arachidonyl ethers and carbamates and norarachidonyl carbamates and ureas.

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Organix, Inc., 240 Salem Street, Woburn, Massachusetts 01801, USA.


To examine the effect of changing the amide bond of anandamide (5, AN) to a less hydrolyzable moiety, analogues 1a-1l, 2a-2c, 3a-3c, and 4a-4h were synthesized from commercially available arachidonyl alcohol or arachidonic acid and tested for their pharmacological activity. Arachidonyl ethers 1a-1k were obtained through the coupling of the arachidonyl mesylate (6) (generated from the mesylation of arachidonyl alcohol) with the appropriate alcohol in potassium hydroxide. Arachidonyl ether 1l was obtained through the phase-transfer coupling of arachidonyl alcohol with 2-(2-iodoethoxy)tetrahydropyran (which was generated from its bromide) followed by cleavage of the tetrahydropyran group with Dowex resin. Arachidonyl carbamates 2a-2c were obtained through the coupling of arachidonyl alcohol with the appropriate isocyanates. Norarachidonyl carbamates 3a-3c and ureas 4a-4h were obtained through the coupling of the norarachidonyl isocyanate (generated from arachidonic acid using diphenyl phosphorazidate and triethylamine upon heating) with the appropriate alcohols and amines, respectively. AN analogues 1-3 have shown poor binding affinities to the CB1 receptor and fail to produce significant pharmacological effect at doses up to 30 mg/kg. Several ether analogues 1 were also evaluated in the CB2 binding assay and were found to be of low affinity. However, norarachidonyl urea analogues 4 have shown generally good binding affinities to the CB1 receptor (Ki = 55-746 nM) and pharmacological activity with AN-like profiles. The most potent analogue of this series is the 2-fluoroethyl analogue 4f which binds 2 times better than AN and was more active in several mouse behavioral assays. It was also observed that urea analogues 4a and 4g, which have weak binding affinities to the CB1 receptor (Ki = 436 and 347 nM, respectively), produced surprisingly potent pharmacological activity. These urea analogues have also shown hydrolytic stability toward the amidase enzymes, responsible for the primary degradation pathway of anandamide, in binding affinity assays in the absence of the enzyme inhibitor PMSF.

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