Anxiolytic-like effects of N,N-dialkyl-2-phenylindol-3-ylglyoxylamides by modulation of translocator protein promoting neurosteroid biosynthesis

J Med Chem. 2008 Sep 25;51(18):5798-806. doi: 10.1021/jm8003224. Epub 2008 Aug 26.


Novel N,N-disubstituted indol-3-ylglyoxylamides (1-56), bearing different combinations of substituents R 1-R 5, were synthesized and evaluated as ligands of the translocator protein (TSPO), the 18 kDa protein representing the minimal functional unit of the "peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptor" (PBR). Most of the new compounds showed a nanomolar/subnanomolar affinity for TSPO and stimulated steroid biosynthesis in rat C6 glioma cells with a potency similar to or higher than that of classic TSPO ligands such as PK 11195. Moreover, when evaluated in vivo by means of the elevated-plus-maze (EPM) paradigm in the rat, compound 32, the best-performing derivative in terms of TSPO affinity and pregnenolone production, showed clear anxiolytic effects. The results of this study suggested that the novel N,N-disubstituted indol-3-ylglyoxylamides may represent a promising class of compounds potentially suited for the treatment of anxiety disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amides / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Isoquinolines / metabolism
  • Isoquinolines / pharmacology*
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Maze Learning
  • Pregnenolone / biosynthesis*
  • Radioligand Assay
  • Rats


  • Amides
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Isoquinolines
  • Pregnenolone
  • PK 11195