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Chem Sci. 2012 Sep 1;3(9):2849-2852.

A chemical synthesis of 11-methoxy mitragynine pseudoindoxyl featuring the interrupted Ugi reaction.

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Department of Chemistry, Princeton University, Frick Chemistry Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey 08544, USA. ; Tel: +1-609-258-8135.


A synthesis of 11-methoxy mitragynine pseudoindoxyl, a new member of the mitragynine class of opioid agonists, from a derivative of the Geissman-Waiss lactone is described. An internal attack of an electron-rich aromatic ring on an electrophilic nitrilium ion and a late-stage construction of the functionalized piperidine ring by the method of reductive cyclization are the pivotal transformations; both ring annulations proceed in a highly diastereoselective fashion. The construction of substituted indoxyl frameworks by the interrupted Ugi method offers an attractive alternative to the strategy of oxidatively rearranging indoles.

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