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J Med Chem. 2002 Apr 25;45(9):1853-9.

Synthesis of nitroindole derivatives with high affinity and selectivity for melatoninergic binding sites MT(3).

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Institut de Chimie Pharmaceutique Albert Lespagnol, 3 rue du Professeur Laguesse, BP83, 59006 Lille Cedex, France.


The aim of this study was to synthesize selective ligands for melatoninergic subtype receptors that could elucidate the physiological role of melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, 1). So, we first investigated the role of a nitro substituent in the 4-, 6-, or 7-position of the indole heterocycle. Comparatively to melatonin, its analogues that nitrated in the 6- or 7-position (6 and 22) lose MT(3) but retain good MT(1) and MT(2) affinities, whereas the 4-nitro isomer (5) shows very high affinity (nanomolar) and selectivity for the MT(3) binding sites. N-Methylation of the indole nucleus of compound 5 potentiates these effects and affords the most potent and selective MT(3) ligand (17). The 2-iodo derivatives (12 and 10) of compounds 5 and 17 have also been synthesized to evaluate their binding profile with a view to further develop MT(3) selective radioligands.

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