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J Med Chem. 1989 Oct;32(10):2282-91.

Novel benzodiazepine receptor partial agonists: oxadiazolylimidazobenzodiazepines.

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  • 1Ferrosan Research Division, Soeborg, Denmark.


The synthesis and biochemical evaluation of a series of oxadiazole derivatives of imidazobenzodiazepines related to the benzodiazepine antagonist Ro 15-1788 (2a) are reported. Although the oxadiazole ring is seen as an isosteric replacement for the ester linkage, significant differences in structure-activity trends were observed. Specifically, oxadiazoles 9-12 invariably had increased receptor efficacy (as witnessed by measurements of the GABA shift) relative to the corresponding ester. Additionally, and in direct contrast to the classical agonists such as diazepam, affinity for the benzodiazepine receptor was enhanced by a 7- rather than 8-halo substituent. The results are discussed in terms of a six-point receptor-binding model originally based on the X-ray structure of 2a. For comparison, the crystal structures of two representative oxadiazole derivatives, 10h and 12o, having a 6-oxo and 6-phenyl group, respectively, were determined and the data incorporated into a modified binding model to account for the greater efficacy of these compounds. It is concluded that the antagonist behavior of 2a relies upon the hydrogen-bond-acceptor properties of the ester carbonyl oxygen whereas for the oxadiazole series this site is localized at the imidazole nitrogen.

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