New 1-Aryl-3-(4-arylpiperazin-1-yl)propane Derivatives, with Dual Action at 5-HT1ASerotonin Receptors and Serotonin Transporter, as a New Class of Antidepressants Academic Article uri icon


  • In a search toward new and efficient antidepressants, 1-aryl-3-(4-arylpiperazin-1-yl)propane derivatives were designed, synthesized, and evaluated for 5-HT reuptake inhibition and 5-HT1A receptor antagonism. This dual pharmacological profile should lead, in principle, to a rapid and pronounced enhancement in serotoninergic neurotransmission and consequently to a more efficacious treatment of depression. The design was based on coupling structural moieties related to inhibition of serotonin reuptake, such as gamma-phenoxypropylamines, to arylpiperazines, typical 5-HT1A ligands. In binding studies, several compounds showed affinity at the 5-HT transporter and 5-HT1A receptors. Antidepressant-like activity was initially assayed in the forced swimming test with those compounds with Ki < 200 nM in both binding studies. Functional characterization was performed by measuring the intrinsic effect on rectal temperature in mice and also the antagonism to 8-OH-DPAT-induced hypothermia. The most efficacious compounds (12f, 23gE, 28a, and 28b) were further explored for their ability to antagonize 8-OH-DPAT-induced inhibition of forskolin-stimulated cAMP formation in a cell line expressing the 5-HT1A receptor. Furthermore, the antidepressant-like properties of 12f, 28a, and 28b, which exhibited 5-HT1A receptor antagonistic property in the latter study, were also evaluated in the learned helplessness test in rats. Among these three compounds, 28b (1-benzo[b]thiophene-3-yl)-3-[4-(2-methoxyphenyl)-1-ylpropan-1-ol) showed the higher affinity at both the 5-HT transporter and 5-HT1A receptors (Ki = 20 nM in both cases) and was also active in the other pharmacological tests. Such a pharmacological profile could lead to a new class of antidepressants with a dual mechanism of action and a faster onset of action.


  • Martínez-Esparza, Javier
  • Oficialdegui, Ana-M
  • Pérez-Silanes, Silvia
  • Heras, Begoña
  • Orús, Lara
  • Palop, Juan-A
  • Lasheras, Berta
  • Roca, Joan
  • Mourelle, Marisa
  • Bosch, Ana
  • Del Castillo, Juan-C
  • Tordera, Rosa
  • Del Río, Joaquín
  • Monge, Antonio

publication date

  • February 2001

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