The well-known opioid agonists, oxycodone and oxymorphone, and the opioid antagonists, naloxone and naltrexone, are commonly used clinical agents and research tools in the opioid field. They belong to the class of morphinan-6-ones, and produce their pharmacological effects by interacting with opioid receptors, i.e. mu (MOR), delta (DOR) and kappa (KOR). The search for potent agonists and antagonists has continuously engaged the interest of pharmaceutical research, aiming for the identification of safer therapeutic agents or discovery of opioids with novel therapeutic properties and with lesser unwanted side effects. The chemically highly versatile carbonyl group in position 6 of mophinan-6-ones permits functionalization and modification leading to numerous opioid ligands. We have focused on representative examples of various derivatives and interesting approaches for the development of structurally distinct molecules with substitution at C6 (e.g. 6-methylene, 6-hydroxy, 6-amido, bifunctional ligands), as preclinically and clinically valuable opioids. In this work, the development of 6-amino and 6-guanidino substituted 14-alkoxymorphinans, including the synthesis and phar macological investigations is presented. The new approach represented by the introduction of amino and guanidino groups into position 6 of the morphinan skeleton of 14-O-methyloxymorphone, led to compounds with high efficacy, MOR affinity and selectivity, which act as potent antinociceptive agents. Altogether, as a consequence of target drug design and synthetic efforts in the field of morphinan-6-ones, we achieve a better understanding of the function of the opioid system, and such efforts may open new avenues for further investigations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Drug Discovery