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J Med Chem. 2004 Jul 1;47(14):3642-57.

Synthesis and biological evaluation of 3-heterocyclyl-7,8,9,10-tetrahydro-(7,10-ethano)-1,2,4-triazolo[3,4-a]phthalazines and analogues as subtype-selective inverse agonists for the GABA(A)alpha5 benzodiazepine binding site.

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Departments of Medicinal Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Pharmacology, Merck Sharp and Dohme Research Laboratories, Neuroscience Research Centre, Terlings Park, Eastwick Road, Harlow, Essex CM20 2QR, UK.


The identification of a novel series of 7,8,9,10-tetrahydro-(7,10-ethano)-1,2,4-triazolo[3,4-a]phthalazines as GABA(A)alpha5 inverse agonists, which have both binding and functional (efficacy) selectivity for the benzodiazepine binding site of alpha5- over alpha1-, alpha2-, and alpha3-containing GABA(A) receptor subtypes, is described. Binding selectivity was determined to a large part by the degree of planarity of the fused ring system whereas functional selectivity was dependent on the nature of the heterocycle at the 3-position of the triazolopyridazine ring. 3-Furan and 5-methylisoxazole were shown to be optimal for GABA(A)alpha5 functional selectvity. 3-(5-Methylisoxazol-3-yl)-6-(2-pyridyl)methyloxy-1,2,4-triazolo[3,4-a]phthalazine (43) was identified as a full inverse agonist at the GABA(A)alpha5 subtype with functional selectivity over the other GABA(A) receptor subtypes and good oral bioavailability.

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