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Positive Modulators of the N‑Methyl‑d‑aspartate Receptor: Structure–Activity Relationship Study of Steroidal 3‑Hemiesters

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journal contribution
posted on 30.04.2018, 00:00 by Barbora Krausova, Barbora Slavikova, Michaela Nekardova, Pavla Hubalkova, Vojtech Vyklicky, Hana Chodounska, Ladislav Vyklicky, Eva Kudova
Here, we report the synthesis of pregn-5-ene and androst-5-ene dicarboxylic acid esters and explore the structure–activity relationship (SAR) for their modulation of N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors (NMDARs). All compounds were positive modulators of recombinant GluN1/GluN2B receptors (EC50 varying from 1.8 to 151.4 μM and Emax varying from 48% to 452%). Moreover, 10 compounds were found to be more potent GluN1/GluN2B receptor modulators than endogenous pregnenolone sulfate (EC50 = 21.7 μM). The SAR study revealed a relationship between the length of the residues at carbon C-3 of the steroid molecule and the positive modulatory effect at GluN1/GluN2B receptors for various D-ring modifications. A selected compound, 20-oxo-pregnenolone hemiadipate, potentiated native NMDARs to a similar extent as GluN1/GluN2A-D receptors and inhibited AMPARs and GABAAR responses. These results provide a unique opportunity for the development of new steroid based drugs with potential use in the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders involving hypofunction of NMDARs.