[en] 5-HT1A receptors represent a major target for research and drug development due to their involvement in pathologies such as anxiety,1 depression,2 sleep and memory disorders,3,4 and schizophrenia.5 The main feature of many drugs having a 5-HT1A affinity is the presence of arylpiperazine moiety.6 Indeed, the protonated nitrogen and the aromatic ring of the arylpiperazine compounds are considered crucial for the interaction with the receptor.7 Interestingly, an in vitro binding study realized in our laboratory reveals the presence of the 1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine instead of the piperazine moiety in 4-arylpiperazine-ethyl carboxamide derivatives is highly favourable for 5-HT1A affinity. In order to better understand the favourable effect of this chemical modification, we have performed a conformational analysis of these compounds mainly based on the position of the phenyl ring relative to the piperazine and tetrahydropyridine ones. In the piperazine compounds, the phenyl ring is found in a perpendicular orientation, whereas an almost planar orientation seems to be the most favourable conformation for the tetrahydropyridine compounds (See figure). Therefore, the almost planar orientation of the 4-substituted phenyl ring appears as an important spatial requirement for an optimal interaction with the receptor binding site. This finding could lead to new ideas in the design of high-affinity 5-HT1A ligands.
Département de pharmacie, Laboratoire de chimie pharmaceutique
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS ; Université de liège