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J Med Chem. 2009 Jan 22;52(2):369-78. doi: 10.1021/jm801044g.

Discovery of novel CB2 receptor ligands by a pharmacophore-based virtual screening workflow.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Institute of Pharmacy and Center for Molecular Biosciences Innsbruck, University of Innsbruck, Innrain 52c, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


Cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB(2) receptor) ligands are potential candidates for the therapy of chronic pain, inflammatory disorders, atherosclerosis, and osteoporosis. We describe the development of pharmacophore models for CB(2) receptor ligands, as well as a pharmacophore-based virtual screening workflow, which resulted in 14 hits for experimental follow-up. Seven compounds were identified with K(i) values below 25 microM. The CB(2) receptor-selective pyridine tetrahydrocannabinol analogue 8 (K(i) = 1.78 microM) was identified as a CB(2) partial agonist. Acetamides 12 (K(i) = 1.35 microM) and 18 (K(i) = 2.1 microM) represent new scaffolds for CB(2) receptor-selective antagonists and inverse agonists, respectively. Overall, our pharmacophore-based workflow yielded three novel scaffolds for the chemical development of CB(2) receptor ligands.

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