Chemistry and pharmacology of nicotinic ligands based on 6-[5-(azetidin-2-ylmethoxy)pyridin-3-yl]hex-5-yn-1-ol (AMOP-H-OH) for possible use in depression

ChemMedChem. 2009 Aug;4(8):1279-91. doi: 10.1002/cmdc.200900079.


AMOP-H-OH (sazetidine-A; 6-[5-(azetidin-2-ylmethoxy)pyridin-3-yl]hex-5-yn-1-ol) and some sulfur-bearing analogues were tested for their activities in vitro against human alpha4beta2-, alpha4beta4-, alpha3beta4*- and alpha1*-nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). AMOP-H-OH was also assessed in an antidepressant efficacy model. AMOP-H-OH and some of its analogues have high potency and selectivity for alpha4beta2-nAChRs over other nAChR subtypes. Effects are manifested as partial agonism, perhaps reflecting selectivity for high sensitivity (alpha4)(3)(beta2)(2)-nAChRs. More prolonged exposure to AMOP-H-OH and its analogues produces inhibition of subsequent responses to acute challenges with full nicotinic agonists, again selectively for alpha4beta2-nAChRs over other nAChR subtypes. The inhibition is mediated either via antagonism or desensitization of nAChR function, but the degree of inhibition of alpha4beta2-nAChRs is limited by the partial agonist activity of the drugs. Certain aspects of the in vitro pharmacology suggest that AMOP-H-OH and some of its analogues have a set of binding sites on alpha4beta2-nAChRs that are distinct from those for full agonists. The in vitro pharmacological profile suggests that peripheral side effects of AMOP-H-OH or its analogues would be minimal and that their behavioral effects would be dominated by central nAChR actions. AMOP-H-OH also has profound and high potency antidepressant-like effects in the forced swim test. The net action of prolonged exposure to AMOP-H-OH or its analogues, as for nicotine, seems to be a selective decrease in alpha4beta2-nAChR function. Inactivation of nAChRs may be a common neurochemical endpoint for nicotine dependence, its treatment, and some of its manifestations, including relief from depression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / chemistry*
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology
  • Azetidines / chemistry*
  • Azetidines / pharmacology
  • Depression / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Mice
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Protein Isoforms / agonists
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Pyridines / chemistry*
  • Pyridines / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / metabolism


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Azetidines
  • Ligands
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Pyridines
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • azetidine