Ring Expansion of Functionalized Octahydroindoles to Enantiopure cis-Decahydroquinolines

A new synthetic entry to enantiopure cis-decahydroquinolines is reported. Endo and exo derivatives of cis-1-benzyl-2-(hydroxymethyl)octahydroindol-6-one ethylene acetal undergo ring enlargement upon treatment with TFAA and then Et3N (thermodynamic conditions) to give enantiopure 1-benzyl-3-hydroxydecahydroquinolin-7-one derivatives in 77 and 82% yield, respectively. For 2-(1-hydroxyethyl) analogues, the best synthetic result is obtained from the (2S,1‘R) endo isomer, which under kinetic reaction conditions (MsCl, THF, −20 °C, then AgOAc at rt ) gives the expanded product in 54% yield.