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J Med Chem. 1996 May 10;39(10):1967-74.

(Aminoalkyl)indole isothiocyanates as potential electrophilic affinity ligands for the brain cannabinoid receptor.

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Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


A series of (aminoalkyl)indole compounds, naphthalene analogs of pravadoline (1), has been shown to exhibit cannabinoid agonist activities such as antinociception in animals, inhibition of adenylate cyclase in brain membranes, and binding to the cannabinoid receptor. These pravadoline analogs were selected for the preparation of potential electrophilic affinity ligands based on the synthesis of isothiocyanate derivatives. One isothiocyanatonaphthalene derivative (8) displaced [3H]CP-55940 binding to a rat brain P2 membrane preparation with an IC50 of 690 nM, which was 10-fold less potent than the parent molecule (IC50 = 73 nM). Isothiocyanate substitution at various positions on the naphthalene moiety of the desmethyl analog 10 gave compounds that displaced [3H]CP-55940 with IC50 values between 400 and 1000 nM, compared with 46 nM for the parent compound 10. However, 6-isothiocyanato substitution on the indole ring of the desmethyl analog provided isothiocyanate 12 that displaced [3H]CP-55940 binding with an IC50 and 160 nM. After pretreatment of brain membranes with this high-affinity isothiocyanato ligand followed by washing out the ligand, the membranes were depleted of 90% of the cannabinoid receptor binding capacity. Loss of receptor binding capacity was half-maximal at 300 nM of the derivative under standard assay conditions. As a control, pretreatment with the parent compound at concentrations that were 20 times the Kd failed to alter subsequent binding activity. This study demonstrates that an isothiocyanato (aminoalkyl)-indole (12) can behave as an affinity ligand which binds irreversibly to the cannabinoid receptor in brain and which precludes subsequent binding of the cannabinoid ligand [3H]CP-55940.

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