Ring-hydroxylated propranolol: synthesis and beta-receptor antagonist and vasodilating activities of the seven isomers

J Med Chem. 1981 Mar;24(3):309-14. doi: 10.1021/jm00135a014.


Propranolol (Inderal; 1) is extensively metabolized in man. Metabolites of interest pharmacologically include ring-hydroxylated propranolols (1a-g). In order to identify these ring-oxidized products and to study the effect of hydroxyl position on biological activity, we have synthesized all seven isomers. With the exception of 1b and 1g, the desired compounds were prepared by alkylation of the respective methoxy-1-naphthols with epichlorohydrin and reaction of the resulting epoxide with isopropylamine. Cleavage og the methyl group in fused pyridine hydrochloride afforded 1a,c-f. 1g was prepared by the direct alkylation of 1,8-naphthalenediol (17) with epichlorohydrin, followed by reaction with isopropylamine. 1b was synthesized by treating 2-naphthol (9) with chlorine gas and then treating the resulting 1,1-dichloronaphthalen-2(1H)-one (10) with sodium allyl oxide. Acetylation of the hydroxy function and epoxidatrion of the allyl group, followed by relation with isopropylamine, gave 3'-hydroxy-4'-chloropropranolol (15). Dechlorination gave 1b. All of the racemic hydroxylated propranolols produced beta blockade and direct vasodilation in anesthetized dogs. The potency is strongly dependent upon the position of the hydroxyl group, i.e., 1e is 4 times as potent as 1 as a beta receptor antagonist, whereas 1a, 1b, and 1g are all significantly less potent than 1. For direct vasodilation, 1a and 1g are equipotent to 1, while 1b-f are much less potent. The potencies of the compounds were also compared with their 1-octanol/pH 7.4 buffer distribution coefficients; the direct vasodilating potency was found to increase with increasing lipophilicity, while the beta-adrenergic antagonist potency decreased.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / chemical synthesis*
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Hydroxylation
  • Male
  • Propranolol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Propranolol / pharmacology
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Vasodilator Agents / chemical synthesis*
  • Vasodilator Agents / pharmacology


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Propranolol