Novel 3-Pyridyl ethers with subnanomolar affinity for central neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors

J Med Chem. 1996 Feb 16;39(4):817-25. doi: 10.1021/jm9506884.


Recent evidence indicating the therapeutic potential of cholinergic channel modulators for the treatment of central nervous system (CNS) disorders as well as the diversity of brain neuronal nicotine acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) have suggested an opportunity to develop subtype-selective nAChR ligands for the treatment of specific CNS disorders with reduced side effect liabilities. We report a novel series of 3-pyridyl ether compounds which possess subnanomolar affinity for brain nAChRs and differentially activate subtypes of neuronal nAChRs. The synthesis and structure-activity relationships for the leading members of the series are described, including A-85380 (4a), which possesses ca.50 pM affinity for rat brain [(3)H]-(-)-cytisine binding sites and 163% efficacy compared to nicotine to stimulate ion flux at human alpha4beta2 nAChR subtype, and A-84543 (2a), which exhibits 84-fold selectivity to stimulate ion flux at human alpha4beta2 nAchR subtype compared to human ganglionic type nAChRs. Computational studies indicate that a reasonable superposition of a low energy conformer of 4A with (S)-nicotine and (-)-epibatidine can be achieved.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Azocines
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Ethers / chemical synthesis*
  • Ethers / metabolism
  • Ethers / pharmacology
  • Ganglia / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Molecular Structure
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Nicotinic Agonists / chemical synthesis*
  • Nicotinic Agonists / metabolism
  • Nicotinic Agonists / pharmacology
  • Pyridines / chemical synthesis*
  • Pyridines / metabolism
  • Pyridines / pharmacology
  • Quinolizines
  • Radioligand Assay
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / drug effects
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / metabolism*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Tritium


  • Alkaloids
  • Azocines
  • Ethers
  • Nicotinic Agonists
  • Pyridines
  • Quinolizines
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • Tritium
  • cytisine