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Review | Special issue | Vol 79, No. 1, 2009, pp.99-120
Published online, 23rd October, 2008
DOI: 10.3987/REV-08-SR(D)1
Epibatidine Analogs Synthesized for Characterization of Nicotinic Pharmacophores—A Review

F. Ivy Carroll*

*Organic and Medicinal Chemistry, Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, U.S.A.

Abstract

In 1992 Daly and co-workers reported the isolation of a new natural product, epibatidine. Future studies showed that epibatidine was an nAChR ligand with analgesic potency 200-400 times greater than that of morphine. However, its potential as a new drug was limited by its toxic side effects, probably resulting from its activity at a number of nAChR subtypes. Epibatidine's unique structure and potent activity made it an ideal lead structure for the development of nAChR ligands with reduced side effects and better nAChR subtype selectivity. This review presents the synthetic methods we have used to synthesize a number of epibatidine agonists, antagonists, and mixed agonists/antagonists to better characterize the α4b2 nAChR pharmacophore and hopefully provide compounds that have potential for treating nicotine addiction.