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Bioorg Med Chem. 1999 Nov;7(11):2381-9.

The anticonvulsant activities of N-benzyl 3-methoxypropionamides.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Houston, TX 77204-5641, USA.


We recently reported that the ED50 value for (R,S)-2,3-dimethoxypropionamide (1) in the maximal electroshock (MES)-induced seizure test in mice was 30 mg/kg (Choi, D.; Stables, J.P., Kohn, H. Bioorg. Med. Chem. 1996, 4, 2105). This value is comparable to that observed for phenobarbital (ED50 = 22 mg/kg). Compound 1 is structurally similar to a class of MES-selective anticonvulsant agents, termed functionalized amino acids (2), that were developed in our laboratory. The distinguishing feature of 2 is the differential activities observed for enantiomers. In this study, we asked whether comparable differences in activities were observed in the MES-induced seizure test for (R)- and (S)-1. We developed stereospecific syntheses for these enantiomers and showed that both compounds exhibit nearly equal anticonvulsant activity in mice (i.p.) (MES ED50 = 79-111 mg/kg). The surprisingly high ED50 values for (R)- and (S)-1 required our redetermining the ED50 value for (R,S)-1. We revised this value to 79 mg/kg. A limited structure-activity relationship study for 1 was conducted. Special attention was given to the C(2) methoxy unit in 1. We found that replacement of this moiety led to only modest differences in the MES activities upon ip administration to mice. Significantly, we observed an enhancement in the anticonvulsant activity for (R,S)-N-benzyl 2-hydroxy-3-methoxypropionamide ((R,S)-6) upon oral administration to rats ((R,S)-6: mice (i.p.) ED50 > 100, < 300 mg/kg; rat (oral) ED50 = 62 mg/kg). The activities of 3-methoxypropionamides, functionalized amino acids, and related compounds are discussed.

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