European journal of medicinal chemistry

Design, synthesis and melatoninergic activity of new unsubstituted and beta,beta'-difunctionalised 2,3-dihydro-1H-pyrrolo[3,2,1-ij]quinolin-6-alkanamides.

PMID 17346859


A series of new 2,3-dihydro-1H-pyrrolo[3,2,1-ij]quinolin-6-alkanamides, with and without alkyl and cycloalkyl moieties in the beta-position of the alkanamido side chain, have been prepared and tested for their ability to activate pigment granule aggregation in Xenopus laevis melanophores and bind to the recombinant human MT(1) and MT(2) melatonin receptor subtypes expressed in NIH 3T3 cells. An increase of the spacer's length in the side chain by a methylene unit (from 17d to 21d) leads to a six-fold decrease in antagonistic activity. On the other hand, the introduction of two methyl groups in the beta-position of the side chain of 17a induces agonist potency (compound 24), implying thus that the two beta-methyl groups are not only tolerated by the receptor, but constitute functional probes in its dynamic agonist-antagonist conformational equilibrium. The presence of more bulky beta-substituents, regardless of the size of the R group, compounds 24a,b, seems to lead to antagonism and to a noteworthy MT(2) subtype selectivity. Last, the new N1-C7 annulated derivatives presented herein are substantially more potent than their respective N1-C2 annulated counterparts, previously reported.