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J Med Chem. 1997 Oct 24;40(22):3670-8.

Novel and highly potent 5-HT3 receptor agonists based on a pyrroloquinoxaline structure.

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Dipartimento Farmaco Chimico Tecnologico, Universit√° di Siena, Italy.


The synthesis and the biological evaluation of a series of novel pyrroloquinoxaline derivatives are described. In binding studies several compounds proved to be potent and selective 5-HT3 receptor ligands. The most active pyrroloquinoxalines, 11d and 11e, showed a subnanomolar affinity for 5-HT3 receptor and were able to functionally discriminate the central and peripheral 5-HT3 receptor, being agonists and antagonists, respectively. In functional studies ([14C]-guanidinium accumulation test in NG 108-15 cells, in vitro) most of the synthesized compounds showed clear-cut 5-HT3 agonist properties. In in vivo studies on the von Bezold-Jarisch reflex test (a peripheral interaction model) the behavior of the tested compounds ranged from agonist to antagonist, while clear agonist properties were obtained with 12a on cortical acetylcholine release in freely moving rats. Pharmacokinetic studies with 11e and 12c indicate that the compounds easily cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) after systemic administration with a brain/plasma ratio of 17.5 and 37.5, respectively. Thus compounds 11e and 12c represent the most potent central 5-HT3 agonists identified to date that are able to cross the blood-brain barrier.

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