2-, 5-, and 6-Halo-3-(2(S)-azetidinylmethoxy)pyridines: synthesis, affinity for nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, and molecular modeling

J Med Chem. 1998 Sep 10;41(19):3690-8. doi: 10.1021/jm980170a.


3-(2(S)-Azetidinylmethoxy)pyridine (A-85380) has been identified recently as a ligand with high affinity for nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). Here we report the synthesis and in vitro nAChR binding of a series of 10 pyridine-modified analogues of A-85380. The novel compounds feature a halogen substituent at position 2, 5, or 6 of the 3-pyridyl fragment. Those with the substituents at position 5 or 6, as well as the 2-fluoro analogue, possess subnanomolar affinity for nAChRs in membranes from rat brain. For these ligands, Ki values range from 11 to 210 pM, as measured by competition with (+/-)-[3H]epibatidine. In contrast, 2-chloro, 2-bromo, and 2-iodo analogues exhibit substantially lower affinity. AM1 quantum chemical calculations demonstrate that the bulky substituents at position 2 cause notable changes in the molecular geometry. The high-affinity members of the series and (+)-epibatidine display a tight fit superposition of low-energy stable conformers. The new ligands with high affinity for nAChRs may be of interest as pharmacological probes, potential medications, and candidates for developing radiohalogenated tracers to study nAChRs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Azetidines* / chemical synthesis
  • Azetidines* / chemistry
  • Azetidines* / metabolism
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic / metabolism
  • Ligands
  • Male
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nicotinic Agonists / metabolism
  • Prosencephalon / metabolism
  • Pyridines* / chemical synthesis
  • Pyridines* / chemistry
  • Pyridines* / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / metabolism*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • A 85380
  • Azetidines
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic
  • Ligands
  • Nicotinic Agonists
  • Pyridines
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • epibatidine