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Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 May 2024 - 17 May 2024

2024 May 15

J Med Chem


Explorations of Agonist Selectivity for the α9* nAChR with Novel Substituted Carbamoyl/Amido/Heteroaryl Dialkylpiperazinium Salts and Their Therapeutic Implications in Pain and Inflammation.


Andleeb H, Papke RL, Stokes C, Richter K, Herz SM, Chiang K, Kanumuri SRR, Sharma A, Damaj MI, Grau V, Horenstein NA, Thakur GA


There is an urgent need for nonopioid treatments for chronic and neuropathic pain to provide effective alternatives amid the escalating opioid crisis. This study introduces novel compounds targeting the α9 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subunit, which is crucial for pain regulation, inflammation, and inner ear functions. Specifically, it identifies novel substituted carbamoyl/amido/heteroaryl dialkylpiperazinium iodides as potent agonists selective for human α9 and α9α10 over α7 nAChRs, particularly compounds , , and . Compound (GAT2711) demonstrated a 230 nM potency as a full agonist at α9 nAChRs, being 340-fold selective over α7. Compound was 10-fold selective for α9α10 over α9 nAChR. Compounds , , and inhibited ATP-induced interleukin-1β release in THP-1 cells. The analgesic activity of was fully retained in α7 knockout mice, suggesting that analgesic effects were potentially mediated through α9* nAChRs. Our findings provide a blueprint for developing α9*-specific therapeutics for pain.