C3-halogenation of cytisine generates potent and efficacious nicotinic receptor agonists

J A Abin-Carriquiry, M H Voutilainen, J Barik, B K Cassels, P Iturriaga-Vasquez, I Bermudez, C Durand, F Dajas, S Wonnacott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (SciVal)


Neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors subserve predominantly modulatory roles in the brain, making them attractive therapeutic targets. Natural products provide key leads in the quest for nicotinic receptor subtype-selective compounds. Cytisine, found in Leguminosae spp., binds with high affinity to alpha 4 beta 2* nicotinic receptors. We have compared the effect of C3 and C5 halogenation of cytisine and methylcytisine (MCy) on their interaction with native rat nicotinic receptors. 3-Bromocytisine (3-BrCy) and 3-iodocytisine (3-ICy) exhibited increased binding affinity (especially at alpha 7 nicotinic receptors; K-1 similar to 0.1 mu M) and functional potency, whereas C5-halogenation was detrimental. 3-BrCy and 3-ICy were more potent than cytisine at evoking [H-3]dopamine release from striatal slices (EC50 similar to 11 nM), [H-3]noradrenaline release from hippocampal slices (EC50 similar to 250 nM), increases in intracellular Ca2+ in PC12 cells and inward currents in Xenopus oocytes expressing human alpha 3 beta 4 4 nicotinic receptor (EC50 similar to 2 mu M). These compounds were also more efficacious than cytisine. C3-halogenation of cytisine is proposed to stabilize the open conformation of the nicotinic receptor but does not enhance subtype selectivity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006


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