The rationale for E2020 as a potent acetylcholinesterase inhibitor

Bioorg Med Chem. 1996 Sep;4(9):1429-46. doi: 10.1016/0968-0896(96)00137-x.


The phase III drug-candidate, E2020, developed for treatment of Alzheimer's disease, and possibly other demenitas, and its analogues have been the focus of extensive molecular pharmacological and structural studies. The potency and selectivity of E2020 as an inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase, AChE, in the brain is established. A combination of molecular modeling and QSAR studies have been used throughout the evolution of the AChE inhibitor program leading to the benzylpiperidine series, and, ultimately, E2020. QSAR studies have identified requirements of optimize inhibition activity as a function of substituent choice on both the indanone and benzyl rings in the E2020 class of inhibitors. A combination of X-ray crystal structure studies of E2020 isomers and the molecular shape analysis, MSA, of E2020 and its analogues has led to a postulated active conformation, and molecular shape, for these AChE inhibitors. The active molecular shape corresponds to a high degree of shape similarity between the two E2020 isomers which, in turn, is consistent with the observed high inhibition potencies of both of these compounds. Intermolecular docking studies were carried out for E2020 and some analogues with the crystal structure of AChE when it became available. The docking simulations involving E2020 analogues suggest these inhibitors do not bind at the acetylcholine, ACh, active site, but rather at the most narrow location of the long channel leading to the active site. Intermolecular binding geometries are consistent with the postulated active conformations derived from structure-activity (receptor geometry independent) information.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / chemistry*
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Donepezil
  • Indans / chemistry*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Piperidines / chemistry*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Software
  • Torpedo


  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Indans
  • Piperidines
  • Donepezil
  • Acetylcholinesterase