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J Med Chem. 2003 Oct 9;46(21):4525-32.

The discovery of tadalafil: a novel and highly selective PDE5 inhibitor. 1: 5,6,11,11a-tetrahydro-1H-imidazo[1',5':1,6]pyrido[3,4-b]indole-1,3(2H)-dione analogues.

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Laboratoire GlaxoSmithKline, Centre de Recherches, 25-27 Avenue du Québec, 91951 Les Ulis Cedex, France.


Starting from ethyl beta-carboline-3-carboxylate (beta-CCE), 1, a modest inhibitor of type 5 phosphodiesterase (PDE5), a series of functionalized tetrahydro-beta-carboline derivatives has been identified as a novel chemical class of potent and selective PDE5 inhibitors. Optimization of the side chain on the hydantoin ring of initial lead compound 2 and of the aromatic ring on position 5 led to the identification of compound 6e, a highly potent and selective PDE5 inhibitor, with greater selectivity for PDE5 vs PDE1-4 than sildenafil. Compound 6e demonstrated a long-lasting and significant blood pressure lowering effect after iv administration in the spontaneously hypertensive rat model but showed only moderate oral in vivo efficacy.

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