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J Med Chem. 1996 May 10;39(10):2081-6.

Probes for narcotic receptor-mediated phenomena. 21. Novel derivatives of 3-(1,2,3,4,5,11-hexahydro-3-methyl-2,6-methano-6H-azocino[4,5-b]indol- 6-yl)-phenols with improved delta opioid receptor selectivity.

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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.


Derivatives of racemic and optically pure levorotatory 3-(1,2,3,4,5,11-hexahydro-3-methyl-2,6-methano-6H-azocino[4,5-b]in dol-6-yl)phenols containing methoxy substituents in the C10', C9', and C8' positions (compounds 9-11, respectively) were synthesized and characterized by spectroscopic and X-ray methods. The binding affinities for the mu, delta and kappa 1 opioid receptors and activity in the guinea pig ileum (GPI) and mouse vas deferens (MVD) functional bioassays were determined for these compounds. A methoxy substituent in the C8' position decreases the binding affinity for both the mu and delta receptors, while a C10' methoxy substituent has little effect on either binding affinity. Interestingly, a methoxy group at the C9' position in the levorotatory series provides compound (-)-10 which exhibits both enhanced in vitro affinity and selectivity for the delta opioid receptor relative to the unsubstituted derivative (-)-8 and is the most selective (mu/delta IC50 ratio 17.9, kappa 1/delta IC50 ratio 314) and highest affinity (IC50 3.7 nM) delta receptor ligand for this novel class of compounds. The results of the GPI and MVD bioassays are more dramatic and indicate that (-)-10 is an agonist for the delta receptor (IC50 49.0 nM) with substantial selectivity for the delta versus the mu receptor borne out by a GPI/MVD IC50 ratio of > 612.

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