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Papers of the Week

Papers: 10 Feb 2024 - 16 Feb 2024

2024 Feb 09

ACS Chem Neurosci


New Alpha9 nAChR Ligands Based on a 5-(Quinuclidin-3-ylmethyl)-1,2,4-oxadiazole Scaffold.


Dallanoce C, Richter K, Stokes C, Papotto C, Andleeb H, Thakur GA, Kerr A, Grau V, Papke RL


Several lines of evidence have indicated that nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) that contain α9 subunits, probably in combination with α10 subunits, may be valuable targets for the management of pain associated with inflammatory diseases through a cholinergic anti-inflammatory system (CAS), which has also been associated with α7 nAChR. Both α7- and α9-containing neuronal nAChR can be pharmacologically distinguished from the high-affinity nicotinic receptors of the brain by their sensitivity to α-bungarotoxin, but in other ways, they have quite distinct pharmacological profiles. The early association of α7 with CAS led to the development of numerous new ligands, variously characterized as α7 agonists, partial agonists, or silent agonists that desensitized α7 receptors without activation. Subsequent reinvestigation of one such family of α7 ligands based on an ,-diethyl-‘-phenylpiperazine scaffold led to the identification of potent agonists and antagonists for α9. In this paper, we characterize the α9/α10 activity of a series of compounds based on a 5-(quinuclidin-3-ylmethyl)-1,2,4-oxadiazole (QMO) scaffold and identify two new potent ligands of α9, QMO-28, an agonist, and QMO-17, an antagonist. We separated the stereoisomers of these compounds to identify the most potent agonist and discovered that only the 3 isomer of QMO-17 was an α9 antagonist, permitting an model of α9 antagonism to be developed. The α9 activity of these compounds was confirmed to be potentially useful for CAS management of inflammatory pain in cell-based assays of cytokine release.