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Highly Selective Dopamine D3 Receptor (D3R) Antagonists and Partial Agonists Based on Eticlopride and the D3R Crystal Structure: New Leads for Opioid Dependence Treatment

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journal contribution
posted on 10.08.2016, 14:53 by Vivek Kumar, Alessandro Bonifazi, Michael P. Ellenberger, Thomas M. Keck, Elie Pommier, Rana Rais, Barbara S. Slusher, Eliot Gardner, Zhi-Bing You, Zheng-Xiong Xi, Amy Hauck Newman
The recent and precipitous increase in opioid analgesic abuse and overdose has inspired investigation of the dopamine D3 receptor (D3R) as a target for therapeutic intervention. Metabolic instability or predicted toxicity has precluded successful translation of previously reported D3R-selective antagonists to clinical use for cocaine abuse. Herein, we report a series of novel and D3R crystal structure-guided 4-phenylpiperazines with exceptionally high D3R affinities and/or selectivities with varying efficacies. Lead compound 19 was selected based on its in vitro profile: D3R Ki = 6.84 nM, 1700-fold D3R versus D2R binding selectivity, and its metabolic stability in mouse microsomes. Compound 19 inhibited oxycodone-induced hyperlocomotion in mice and reduced oxycodone-induced locomotor sensitization. In addition, pretreatment with 19 also dose-dependently inhibited the acquisition of oxycodone-induced conditioned place preference (CPP) in rats. These findings support the D3R as a target for opioid dependence treatment and compound 19 as a new lead molecule for development.