A number of new 4-phenylpiperidine-2,6-diones bearing at the 1-position an ω-[4-(substituted phenyl)piperazin-1-yl]alkyl moiety were designed and synthesized as ligands for the α(1)-adrenergic receptor (α(1)-AR) subtypes. Some synthesized compounds, tested in binding assays for the human cloned α(1A)-, α(1B)-, and α(1D)-AR subtypes, displayed affinities in the nanomolar range. Highest affinity values were found in derivatives having a butyl connecting chain between the 4-phenylpiperidine-2,6-dione and the phenylpiperazinyl moieties. 1-[4-[4-(2-Methoxyphenyl)piperazin-1-yl]butyl]-4-phenylpiperidine-2,6-dione (34) showed the best affinity for the α(1A)-AR (pK(i) = 8.74) and 10-fold selectivity compared to the other two α(1)-AR subtypes. Some representative compounds were also tested in order to evaluate their effects on the signal transduction pathway coupled to α(1)-AR subtypes. They all blocked norepinephrine-induced stimulation of inositol phospholipid hydrolysis, thus behaving as antagonists. Binding data were used to refine a previously developed pharmacophoric model for α(1D)-ARs. The revised model shows a highly predictive power and could be useful for the future design of high affinity α(1D)-AR ligands.
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