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Synthesis of Tricyclic Indole-2-caboxylic Acids as Potent NMDA-Glycine Antagonists

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journal contribution
posted on 26.04.2001, 00:00 by Seiji Katayama, Nobuyuki Ae, Ryu Nagata
The practical synthesis of a series of tricyclic indole-2-carboxylic acids, 7-chloro-3-arylaminocarbonylmethyl-1,3,4,5-tetrahydrobenz[cd]indole-2-carboxylic acids, as a new class of potent NMDA-glycine antagonists is described. The synthetic route to the key intermediate 12a comprises a regioselective iodination of 4-chloro-2-nitrotoluene, modified Reissert indole synthesis, Jeffery's Heck-type reaction with allyl alcohol, Wittig−Horner−Emmons reaction, and iodination at the indole C-3 position. The key step in the route is an intramolecular cyclization of 12a to give the tricyclic indole structure. Two methods of cyclization, (1) an intramolecular radical cyclization of 12a and (2) a sequence of intramolecular Heck reaction of 12a followed by a 1,4-reduction, were performed. The resulting tricyclic indole diester 13a was selectively hydrolyzed to afford the desired tricyclic indole monocarboxylic acid 16 on a multihundred gram scale without any chromatographic purifications. Optical resolution of 16 to (−)-isomer 17 and (+)-isomer 18 was carried out, and the resulting isomers were derivatized, respectively. Evaluation of the optically active derivatives for affinity to the NMDA-glycine binding site using the radio ligand binding assay with [3H]-5,7-dichlorokynurenic acid revealed that the derivatives of (−)-isomer 17 were more potent than the others and that especially substituted anilide (−)-isomer 24 (Ki = 0.8 nM) showed high affinity.