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Mapping the Melatonin Receptor. 4. Comparison of the Binding Affinities of a Series of Substituted Phenylalkyl Amides

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Department of Chemistry, University College London, 20 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0AJ, U.K.
Department of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Athens, Panepistimiopoli-Zografou, Athens 15771, Greece
Physiology Group, Biomedical Sciences Division, King's College London, Campden Hill Road, London W8 7AH, U.K.
Cite this: J. Med. Chem. 1996, 39, 9, 1797–1805
Publication Date (Web):April 26, 1996
Copyright © 1996 American Chemical Society

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    A series of 2-, 3-, and 4-substituted phenylalkyl amides were prepared as potential melatonin analogs in order to investigate the nature of the binding site of the melatonin receptor in chicken brain. The length of the alkyl chain was systematically varied from n = 1 to 4, and methoxyl substituents were incorporated into the phenyl ring at the 2-, 3-, and 4-positions. The maximum binding affinity was found to occur when n = 3 and when the methoxyl substituent was in the 3-position, the direct analog of the carbon framework of melatonin in which the 1,2-atoms of the indole ring have been removed. Whereas there was only a relatively small decrease in binding affinity for the corresponding 2-methoxy derivatives, 4-methoxyl substitution led to a large decrease in binding affinity, suggesting that the binding sites for the side chain and methoxyl group could not now be occupied at the same time. As in the indole analogs of melatonin, replacement of the methyl group of the amide by a longer alkyl chain led to an increase in binding affinity for ethyl and propyl with a subsequent decrease in binding affinity for butyl chains. Thus N-propanoyl-3-(3-methoxyphenyl)propanamine (6f) has a binding affinity of 5.6 nM, a remarkably high affinity for so simple a compound. Substitution of halogen for 3-methoxyl in the propanamide series gave a series of compounds with lower, but still substantial, binding affinities, the 3-chloro derivative 7e showing the highest affinity, 113 nM. In the case of the 3-fluoro propanamides, a maximum in the binding affinity was not observed in the series synthesized, and these derivatives will merit further exploration. These results demonstrate the utility of simple, readily modified phenylalkylamines as a “framework” for studying the effect of changes in the nature and position of substituents on the melatonin receptor binding affinity.

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    In papers with more than one author, the asterisk indicates the name of the author to whom inquiries about the paper should be addressed.

     ERASMUS exchange student from ICPI, Lyon, France.

     Abstract published in Advance ACS Abstracts, April 1, 1996.

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