Negative allosteric modulators of NMDA receptors with GluN2B subunit: Alanine-derived benzoxazolone bioisosteres of 2-methyl-3-benzazepine-1,7-diols
Alexander Markus, Bastian Frehland, Dirk Schepmann, Bernhard Wünsch
Inspired by besonprodil, the phenol of potent negative allosteric modulators of GluN2B-N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors was replaced by a benzoxazolone system. To increase the similarity to the lead compounds, an additional methyl moiety was installed in the 8-position of tricyclic oxazolobenzazepines, resulting in compounds 6. The additional methyl moiety originates from alanine, which was introduced by a Mitsunobu reaction of benzoxazolylethanol 7 with N-triflyl-protected alanine methyl ester. A crucial feature of the synthesis was the protection of the oxazolone ring by an allyl moiety, which was cleaved off at the end of the synthesis by RhCl3-catalyzed isomerization. Due to the additional methyl moiety, the intramolecular Friedel–Crafts acylation of acid 10 to afford ketone 11 required careful optimization to minimize the formation of the side product tetrahydroisoquinoline 16. Alkylation or reductive alkylation of secondary amine 13 led to diastereomeric oxazolobenzazepines cis-14 and trans-14, which were separated by flash chromatography. Phenylbutyl derivatives cis-6a and trans-6a revealed twofold higher GluN2B affinity than analog 5a without 8-CH3 group. The methylated oxazolobenzazepines 6 and 14 did not interact with the phencyclidine binding site of NMDA receptors and σ2 receptors. However, the σ1 receptor preferred cis-configured oxazolobenzazepines. The highest σ1 receptor affinities were obtained for cis-14a (Ki = 26 nM) and cis-6b (Ki = 30 nM).