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Bioorg Med Chem. 2012 Aug 1;20(15):4862-71. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2012.05.057. Epub 2012 Jun 5.

Design, synthesis, and pharmacological evaluation of novel tetrahydroprotoberberine derivatives: selective inhibitors of dopamine D₁ receptor.

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School of Pharmaceutical Engineering, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Shenyang, Liaoning 110016, People's Republic of China.


A series of new tetrahydroprotoberberine (THPB) derivatives were designed, synthesized, and tested for their binding affinity towards dopamine (D(1) and D(2)) and serotonin (5-HT(1A) and 5-HT(2A)) receptors. Many of the THPB compounds exhibited high binding affinity and activity at the dopamine D(1) receptor, as well as high selectivity for the D(1) receptor over the D(2), 5-HT(1A), and 5-HT(2A) receptors. Among these, compound 19c exhibited a promising D(1) receptor binding affinity (K(i)=2.53nM) and remarkable selectivity versus D(2)R (inhibition=81.87%), 5-HT(1A)R (inhibition=61.70%), and 5-HT(2A)R (inhibition=24.96%). Compared with l-(S)-stepholidine (l-SPD) (D(1)K(i)=6.23nM, D(2)K(i)=56.17nM), compound 19c showed better binding affinity for the D(1) receptor (2.5-fold higher) and excellent D(2)/D(1) selectivity. Functional assays found compounds 18j, 18k, and 19c are pure D(1) receptor antagonists. These results indicate that removing the C10 hydroxy group and introducing a methoxy group at C11 of the pharmacophore of l-SPD can reverse the function of THPB compounds at the D(1) receptor. These results are in accord with molecular docking studies.

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