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J Med Chem. 1996 Aug 30;39(18):3435-50.

Synthesis, biological activity, and SARs of pyrrolobenzoxazepine derivatives, a new class of specific "peripheral-type" benzodiazepine receptor ligands.

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Dipartimento Farmaco Chimico Tecnologico, Università di Siena, Italy.


The "peripheral-type" benzodiazepine receptor (PBR) has been reported to play a role in many biological processes. We have synthesized and tested a novel series of PBR ligands based on a pyrrolobenzoxazepine skeleton, in order to provide new receptor ligands. Several of these new compounds proved to be high affinity and selective ligands for PBR, and benzoxazepines 17f and 17j were found to be the most potent ligands for this receptor to have been identified to date. The SAR and the molecular modeling studies detailed herein delineated a number of structural features required for improving affinity. Some of the ligands were employed as "molecular yardsticks" to probe the spatial dimensions of the lipophilic pockets L1 and L3 in the PBR cleft and to determine the effect of occupation of L1 and L3 with respect to affinity, while other C-7 modified analogues provided information specifically on the hydrogen bonding with a putative receptor site H1. The new pyrrolobenzoxazepines were tested in rat cortex, a tissue expressing high density of mitochondrial PBR, and exhibited IC50 and Ki values in the low nanomolar or subnanomolar range, as measured by the displacement of [3H]PK 11195 binding. A subset of the highest affinity ligands was also found to have high affinities for [3H]PK 11195 and [3H]Ro 5-4864 binding in rat adrenal mitochondria. All the ligands in this subset are stimulators of steroidogenesis having similar potency and extent of stimulation as PK 11195 and Ro 5-4864 of steroidogenesis in the mouse Y-1 adrenocortical cell line.

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