A review of the synthesis of α-carbolines

Eur J Med Chem. 2015 Jun 5;97:816-29. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2014.11.038. Epub 2014 Nov 22.


Since the first reported synthesis of an α-carboline almost a century ago, there has been a steady interest in the development of strategies towards this unique heterocyclic motif. This interest can mainly be attributed to a range of biological activity displayed by the α-carboline natural products including cytotoxicity, anticancer properties or CNS activity. Numerous studies have led to the development of a number of alternative methods to prepare simple α-carbolines as well as a range of synthetic α-carboline derived compounds.

Keywords: Carboline; Grossularine; Mescengricin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Products / chemical synthesis
  • Biological Products / chemistry
  • Carbolines / chemical synthesis*
  • Carbolines / chemistry
  • Chemistry Techniques, Synthetic / methods*
  • Humans


  • Biological Products
  • Carbolines
  • alpha-carboline