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J Med Chem. 2001 Nov 8;44(23):3881-95.

N-Arylsulfonylindole derivatives as serotonin 5-HT(6) receptor ligands.

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Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories, Neuroscience Research Centre, Terlings Park, Eastwick Road, Harlow, Essex CM20 2QR, United Kingdom.


A series of N(1)-arylsulfonyltryptamines were found to be potent ligands of the human serotonin 5-HT(6) receptor with the 5-methoxy-1-benzenesulfonyl analogue (19) having the highest affinity. Additionally, it was discovered that a group such as 3-(3-methoxybenzyl)-1,2,4-oxadiazol-5-yl in the 2-position of the indole ring (43) can replace the arylsulfonyl substituent in the 1-position with no loss of affinity. This suggested that the binding conformation of the aminoethyl side chain at this receptor was toward the 4-position of the indole ring and was supported by the fact that the 4-(aminoethyl)indoles (45) also displayed high affinity, as did the conformationally rigid 1,3,4,5-tetrahydrobenz[c,d]indole (49). Molecular modeling showed that 19, 43, and 45 all had low-energy conformers that overlaid well onto 49. Both 19 and 49 had good selectivity over other serotonin receptors tested, with 49 also showing excellent selectivity over all dopamine receptors. In a functional adenylate cyclase stimulation assay, 19 and 49 had no agonist activity, whereas 45 behaved as a partial agonist. Finally, it was shown that 19 had good activity in the 5-HT(2A) centrally mediated mescaline-induced head twitch assay, which implies that it is brain-penetrant.

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