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Bioorg Med Chem. 2003 Feb 20;11(4):539-49.

3-Indolyl-1-naphthylmethanes: new cannabimimetic indoles provide evidence for aromatic stacking interactions with the CB(1) cannabinoid receptor.

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  • 1Howard L. Hunter Laboratory, Clemson University, 29634-0973, Clemson, SC, USA.


A series of 1-pentyl-1H-indol-3-yl-(1-naphthyl)methanes (9-11) and 2-methyl-1-pentyl-1H-indol-3-yl-(1-naphthyl)methanes (12-14) have been synthesized to investigate the hypothesis that cannabimimetic 3-(1-naphthoyl)indoles interact with the CB(1) receptor by hydrogen bonding to the carbonyl group. Indoles 9-11 have significant (K(i)=17-23nM) receptor affinity, somewhat less than that of the corresponding naphthoylindoles (5, 15, 16). 2-Methyl-1-indoles 12-14 have little affinity for the CB(1) receptor, in contrast to 2-methyl-3-(1-naphthoyl)indoles 17-19, which have affinities comparable to those of 5, 15, 16. A cannabimimetic indene hydrocarbon (26) was synthesized and found to have K(i)=26+/-4nM. Molecular modeling and receptor docking studies of naphthoylindole 16, its 2-methyl congener (19) and indolyl-1-naphthylmethanes 11 and 14, combined with the receptor affinities of these cannabimimetic indoles, strongly suggest that these cannabinoid receptor ligands bind primarily by aromatic stacking interactions in the transmembrane helix 3-4-5-6 region of the CB(1) receptor.

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