Synthesis and structure-activity relationship studies in serotonin 5-HT4 receptor ligands based on a benzo[de][2,6]naphthridine scaffold

Eur J Med Chem. 2014 Jul 23:82:36-46. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2014.05.015. Epub 2014 May 5.


A small series of serotonin 5-HT4 receptor ligands has been designed from flexible 2-methoxyquinoline compounds 7a,b by applying the conformational constraint approach. Ligands 7a,b and the corresponding conformationally constrained analogues 8a-g were synthesized and their interactions with the 5-HT4 receptor were examined by measuring both binding affinity and the ability to promote or inhibit receptor-G protein coupling. Ester derivative 7a and conformationally constrained compound 8b were demonstrated to be the most interesting compounds showing a nanomolar 5-HT4R affinity similar to that shown by reference ligands cisapride (1) and RS-23,597-190 (4). The result was rationalized by docking studies in term of high similarity in the binding modalities of flexible 7a and conformationally constrained 8b. The intrinsic efficacy of some selected ligands was determined by evaluating the receptor-G protein coupling and the results obtained demonstrated that the nature and the position of substituents play a critical role in the interaction of these ligands with their receptor.

Keywords: 5-HT4 receptor ligands; G-protein coupled receptor; Molecular modelling; Serotonin; Synthesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Ligands
  • Male
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Structure
  • Naphthyridines / chemical synthesis
  • Naphthyridines / chemistry*
  • Naphthyridines / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Serotonin, 5-HT4 / metabolism*
  • Serotonin 5-HT4 Receptor Agonists / chemical synthesis
  • Serotonin 5-HT4 Receptor Agonists / chemistry*
  • Serotonin 5-HT4 Receptor Agonists / pharmacology*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Ligands
  • Naphthyridines
  • Serotonin 5-HT4 Receptor Agonists
  • Receptors, Serotonin, 5-HT4