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J Med Chem. 2000 Mar 23;43(6):1149-57.

5-HT reuptake inhibitors with 5-HT(1B/1D) antagonistic activity: a new approach toward efficient antidepressants.

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CNS Departments, Preclinical Pharmaceutical Research, Merck KGaA, Frankfurter Strasse 250, 64271 Darmstadt, Germany.


As part of our research program toward new, potential antidepressants, a series of unsymmetrical ureas has been prepared and evaluated as 5-HT reuptake inhibitors with 5-HT(1B/1D) antagonistic activities. The design of these compounds was based on coupling of various indole derivatives, previously shown to inhibit 5-HT reuptake, to three different aniline moieties, which are part of known 5-HT(1B/1D) ligands. Binding experiments in rat frontal cortex using [(125)I]iodocyanopindolol, in calf striatum using [(3)H]5-HT, and in rat hippocampus using [(3)H]8-OH-DPAT as radioligands, respectively, revealed significantly higher affinity at the 5-HT(1B) receptor as compared to the affinities for the 5-HT(1A) and 5-HT(1D) receptors for a number of compounds, among them 4-(5-fluoro-1H-indol-3-yl)piperidine-1-carboxylic acid [4-methoxy-3-(4-methylpiperazin-1-yl)phenyl]amide (5), the corresponding 4-fluoro-1H-indol-3-yl analogue 21a, and the corresponding 6-fluoro-1H-indol-3-yl analogue 21b. Conformational restriction of the aniline moiety in 5 only slightly enhanced the 5-HT(1B) affinity, whereas introduction of an aniline moiety with higher conformational flexibility resulted in a less potent 5-HT(1B) receptor ligand as compared to 5. The functional 5-HT(1B/1D) antagonistic activity was investigated using the rabbit saphenous vein model as well as the [(3)H]5-HT release from guinea pig cortical slices. All new compounds tested in the rabbit saphenous vein model were shown to antagonize the sumatriptan-evoked contractile responses with pA(2) values ranging from 7.3 to 8.7. These observations were consistent with the results of the cortical slice model, in which the ureas were found to block the sumatriptan-induced inhibition of potassium-evoked [(3)H]5-HT release. The 5-HT reuptake inhibition of the ureas determined in rat brain synaptosomes was found to be either increased or decreased as compared to the uncoupled indole derivatives indicating that the reuptake inhibition shown by the ureas is not only due to the indole part but also affected by the aniline moiety of the molecule. Among this series of compounds described the ureas 5, 21a, and 21b seem to be the most interesting candidates showing both 5-HT reuptake inhibition and 5-HT(1B/1D) antagonism in vitro. This dual pharmacological profile should in theory lead to a pronounced enhancement in serotonergic neurotransmission and consequently to a more efficient treatment of depression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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