Diastereoselective synthesis of conformationally restricted KOR agonists†
In order to analyze the bioactive conformation of flexible KOR agonists the ethylenediamine KOR pharmacophore was conformationally constrained by incorporation into a bicyclic system. For this purpose, 2-azabicyclo[3.2.1.]octan-7-amines were designed, synthesized and pharmacologically evaluated. The primary amine 14 as first key intermediate was prepared in a six-step synthesis starting with methyl cyclopent-3-enecarboxylate 9. Whereas phenylacetamides failed to provide bicyclic compounds, the intramolecular nucleophilic substitution of the sulfonamide 25 was initiated by deprotonation with NaH affording the bicyclic compound 26 in 72% yield. The three-step introduction of the pharmacophoric pyrrolidine ring started with nucleophilic substitution of exo-configured tosylate 26 with NaN3, which unexpectedly occurred under retention of configuration leading to exo-configured azide 31. The final KOR agonists 35 and 36 with exo-configured amino moieties were obtained by removal of the N-tosyl moiety of 33 and introduction of the second pharmacophoric element by acylation with dihalophenylacetyl chlorides. The KOR affinity of the pyrrolidine 35a is in the high nanomolar range (Ki = 862 nM). The low KOR affinity is explained by a non-appropriate dihedral angle of 137°/141° of the N(pyrrolidine)–C–C–N(acyl) system. As observed for stereoisomers of potent KOR agonists, phenylacetamide 35a and more importantly sulfonamides 33a and 33b show moderate affinity at σ1 receptors (Ki = 109–208 nM).