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J Med Chem. 1999 Aug 26;42(17):3412-20.

Structure-activity relationship of N-(phenylalkyl)cinnamides as novel NR2B subtype-selective NMDA receptor antagonists.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403, USA.


A novel series of N-(phenylalkyl)cinnamides related to N-(4-phenylbutyl)-3,4-dihydroxy-beta-cyanocinnamide (6, an EGFR-K inhibitor with high antiproliferative activity) was synthesized and tested for antagonism at N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor subtypes. Potency and subunit selectivity were assayed by electrical recordings in Xenopus oocytes expressing three binary combinations of cloned rat NMDA receptor subunits: NR1A expressed in combination with either NR2A, NR2B, or NR2C. The N-(phenylalkyl)cinnamides are selective antagonists of NR1A/2B receptors. Assayed under steady-state conditions, N-(4-phenylbutyl)-4-hydroxycinnamide (16) has an IC(50) value of 77 nM and >1000-fold selectivity with respect to NR1A/2A and NR1A/2C receptors. Potency at alpha(1) adrenergic receptors is low for the four cinnamides tested. Inhibition of NR1A/2B receptors does not correlate with EGFR and ErbB2/neu tyrosine kinase inhibitor activity. The N-(phenylalkyl)cinnamide series we describe provides a novel and structurally diverse framework for designing new NR2B-selective NMDA antagonists as potential CNS therapeutics.

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