Novel multitarget-directed ligands targeting acetylcholinesterase and σ1 receptors as lead compounds for treatment of Alzheimer's disease: Synthesis, evaluation, and structural characterization of their complexes with acetylcholinesterase

Eur J Med Chem. 2019 Jan 15:162:234-248. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2018.10.064. Epub 2018 Nov 8.


Pleiotropic intervention may be a requirement for effective limitation of the progression of multifactorial diseases such as Alzheimer's Disease. One approach to such intervention is to design a single chemical entity capable of acting on two or more targets of interest, which are accordingly known as Multi-Target Directed Ligands (MTDLs). We recently described donecopride, the first MTDL able to simultaneously inhibit acetylcholinesterase and act as an agonist of the 5-HT4 receptor, which displays promising activities in vivo. Pharmacomodulation of donecopride allowed us to develop a novel series of indole derivatives possessing interesting in vitro activities toward AChE and the σ1 receptor. The crystal structures of complexes of the most promising compounds with Torpedo californica AChE were solved in order to further understand their mode of inhibition.

Keywords: Acetylcholinesterase; Alzheimer's disease; MTDL; Sigma 1 receptors.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / drug effects
  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy*
  • Aniline Compounds / chemistry
  • Aniline Compounds / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / chemical synthesis*
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Drug Design
  • Humans
  • Indoles / chemical synthesis
  • Indoles / pharmacology*
  • Ligands
  • Piperidines / chemistry
  • Piperidines / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Serotonin, 5-HT4 / drug effects
  • Serotonin 5-HT4 Receptor Agonists / chemical synthesis*
  • Serotonin 5-HT4 Receptor Agonists / pharmacology
  • Torpedo


  • Aniline Compounds
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Indoles
  • Ligands
  • Piperidines
  • Serotonin 5-HT4 Receptor Agonists
  • donecopride
  • Receptors, Serotonin, 5-HT4
  • Acetylcholinesterase