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J Med Chem. 2000 Nov 16;43(23):4499-507.

Molecular simplification of 1,4-diazabicyclo[4.3.0]nonan-9-ones gives piperazine derivatives that maintain high nootropic activity.

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Dipartimento di Scienze Farmaceutiche, Università di Firenze, Via G. Capponi 9, I-50121 Firenze, Italy.


Several 4-substituted 1-acylpiperazines, obtained by molecular simplification of 4-substituted 1,4-diazabicyclo[4.3.0]nonan-9-ones, have been synthesized and tested in vivo on the mouse passive avoidance test, to evaluate their nootropic activity. The results show that, apparently, an N-acylpiperazine group can mimic the 2-pyrrolidinone ring of 1,4-diazabicyclo[4.3.0]nonan-9-one, as the compounds of the new series maintain high nootropic activity. Moreover molecular simplification produces more clear-cut structure-activity relationships with respect to the parent series. The mechanism of action also appears to be similar in the two series. In fact, although the molecular mechanism remains to be elucidated, the most potent compound of each class (DM232 and 13, DM235) is able to increase acetylcholine release in rat brain. Piperazine derivatives represent a new class of nootropic drugs with an in vivo pharmacological profile very similar to that of piracetam, showing much higher potency with respect to the reference compound. Among the compounds studied, 13 (DM235) shows outstanding potency, being active at a dose of 0.001 mg kg(-1) sc.

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