Annalida Bedini

Università degli Studi di Urbino "Carlo Bo", Urbino, The Marches, Italy

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Publications (50)148.88 Total impact

  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Melatonin (MLT) is a neurohormone implicated in several physiological processes such as sleep. Contrasting results have been produced on whether or not it may act as a hypnotic agent, and the neurobiological mechanism through which it controls the vigilance states has not yet been elucidated. In this study we investigated the effect of MLT (40mg/kg), a non-selective MT1/MT2 receptor agonist (UCM793, 40mg/kg), and a selective MT2 partial agonist (UCM924, 40mg/kg) on the 24-hr vigilance states. EEG and EMG sleep-wake patterns were registered across the 24-h light-dark cycle in adult Sprague-Dawley male rats. MLT decreased (-37%) the latency to the first episode of non rapid eye movement sleep (NREMS), enhanced the power of NREMS delta band (+33%), but did not alter the duration of any of the three vigilance states. Differently, UCM793 increased the number of episodes (+52%) and decreased the length of the episodes (-38%) of wakefulness but did not alter the 24-hr duration of wakefulness, NREMS and REMS. UCM924 instead reduced the latency (-56%) and increased (+31%) the duration of NREMS. Moreover, it raised the number of REMS episodes (+57%) but did not affect REMS duration. Taken together, these findings show that MLT and non-selective MT1/MT2 receptor agonists do not increase the quantity of sleep but differently influence the three vigilance states. In addition, they support the evidence that selective MT2 receptor agonists increase NREM duration compared to MLT and non-selective MT1/MT2 agonists.
    Neuroscience Letters 01/2014; · 2.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Melatonin exerts many of its actions through the activation of two G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), named MT1 and MT2. So far, a number of different MT1 and MT2 receptor homology models, built either from the prototypic structure of rhodopsin or from recently solved X-ray structures of druggable GPCRs, have been proposed. These receptor models differ in the binding modes hypothesized for melatonin and melatonergic ligands, with distinct patterns of ligand-receptor interactions and putative bioactive conformations of ligands. The receptor models will be described, and they will be discussed in light of the available information from mutagenesis experiments and ligand-based pharmacophore models. The ability of these ligand-receptor complexes to rationalize structure-activity relationships of known series of melatonergic compounds will be commented upon.
    International Journal of Molecular Sciences 01/2013; 14(4):8093-121. · 2.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The design of compounds selective for the MT(1) melatonin receptor is still a challenging task owing to the limited knowledge of the structural features conferring selectivity for the MT(1) subtype, and only few selective compounds have been reported so far. N-(Anilinoalkyl)amides are a versatile class of melatonin receptor ligands that include nonselective MT(1) /MT(2) agonists and MT(2) -selective antagonists. We synthesized a new series of N-(anilinoalkyl)amides bearing 3-arylalkyloxy or 3-alkyloxy substituents at the aniline ring, looking for new potent and MT(1) -selective ligands. To evaluate the effect of substituent size and shape on binding affinity and intrinsic activity, both flexible and conformationally constrained derivatives were prepared. The phenylbutyloxy substituent gave the best result, providing the partial agonist 4 a, which was endowed with high MT(1) binding affinity (pK(i) =8.93) and 78-fold selectivity for the MT(1) receptor. To investigate the molecular basis for agonist recognition, and to explain the role of the 3-arylalkyloxy substituent, we built a homology model of the MT(1) receptor based on the β(2) adrenergic receptor crystal structure in its activated state. A binding mode for MT(1) agonists is proposed, as well as a hypothesis regarding the receptor structural features responsible for MT(1) selectivity of compounds with lipophilic arylalkyloxy substituents.
    ChemMedChem 08/2012; · 2.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Melatonin (MLT) is a neurohormone known to be involved in the regulation of anxiety. Most of the physiological actions of MLT in the brain are mediated by two high-affinity G-protein-coupled receptors, denoted MT(1) and MT(2). However, the particular role of these receptors in anxiety remains to be defined. Here we used a novel MT(2)-selective partial agonist, UCM765 to evaluate the involvement of MT(2) receptors in anxiety. Adult male rats were acutely injected with UCM765 (5-10-20mg/kg), MLT (20mg/kg) or diazepam (DZ, 1mg/kg). Anxiety-related behaviors were assessed in the elevated plus maze test (EPMT), novelty suppressed feeding test (NSFT) and open field test (OFT). UCM765 at the dose of 10mg/kg showed anxiolytic-like properties by increasing the time spent in the open arm of the EPMT, and by reducing the latency to eat in a novel environment in the NSFT. In the EPMT, animals treated with UCM765 (10mg/kg) or MLT (20mg/kg) spent more time in the open arms compared to vehicle-treated animals, but to a lesser extent compared to DZ (1mg/kg). In the NSFT, all treatments similarly decreased the latency to eat in a novel environment compared to vehicle. UCM765 and MLT did not affect the total time and the number of entries into the central area of the OFT, but unlike DZ, did not impair locomotion. The anxiolytic effects of UCM765 and MLT in the EPMT and the NSFT were blocked using a pre-treatment with the MT(1)/MT(2) antagonist luzindole (10mg/kg) or the MT(2) antagonist 4P-PDOT (10mg/kg). These results demonstrated, for the first time, the anxiolytic properties of UCM765 and suggest that MT(2)-receptors may be considered a novel target for the development of anxiolytic drugs.
    Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry 07/2012; 39(2):318-25. · 3.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An efficient, one-pot reductive alkylation of indoles with N-protected aminoethyl acetals in the presence of TES/TFA is reported. It represents the first general method for the direct synthesis of tryptamine derivatives from indoles and nitrogen-functionalized acetals. This convergent and versatile approach employs safe and inexpensive reagents, proceeds under mild conditions, and tolerates several functional groups. The new procedure was efficiently applied to a gram-scale synthesis of both luzindole, a reference MT2-selective melatonin receptor antagonist, and melatonin.
    The Journal of Organic Chemistry 06/2012; 77(14):6351-7. · 4.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Melatonin activates two brain G-protein coupled receptors, MT(1) and MT(2), whose differential roles in the sleep-wake cycle remain to be defined. The novel MT(2) receptor partial agonist, N-{2-[(3-methoxyphenyl) phenylamino] ethyl} acetamide (UCM765), is here shown to selectively promote non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREMS) in rats and mice. The enhancement of NREMS by UCM765 is nullified by the pharmacological blockade or genetic deletion of MT(2) receptors. MT(2), but not MT(1), knock-out mice show a decrease in NREMS compared to the wild strain. Immunohistochemical labeling reveals that MT(2) receptors are localized in sleep-related brain regions, and notably the reticular thalamic nucleus (Rt). Microinfusion of UCM765 in the Rt promotes NREMS, and its systemic administration induces an increase in firing and rhythmic burst activity of Rt neurons, which is blocked by the MT(2) antagonist 4-phenyl-2-propionamidotetralin. Since developing hypnotics that increase NREMS without altering sleep architecture remains a medical challenge, MT(2) receptors may represent a novel target for the treatment of sleep disorders.
    Journal of Neuroscience 12/2011; 31(50):18439-52. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An efficient and practical approach for the synthesis of all four stereoisomers of the MT(2) melatonin receptor ligand 4-phenyl-2-propionamidotetralin (4-P-PDOT), each in enantiomerically pure form (ee > 99.9%), was developed. The strategy involved an optical resolution procedure of the key precursor (±)-4-phenyl-2-tetralone with the unusual resolving agent (S)-mandelamide, through the formation of four dihydronaphtalene-spiro-oxazolidin-4-one diastereomers. Interestingly, NMR experimental observations in combination with geometric calculations, provided unambiguous configuration assignments of all stereocenters of the key spiro stereoisomers. Cleavage of each single spiro diastereomer under acidic conditions gave enantiopure (R)- or (S)-4-phenyl-2-tetralone, which were then converted to each 4-P-PDOT single enantiomer by using stereoselective reactions.
    Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry 11/2011; 10(2):305-13. · 3.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: New derivatives of 4-phenyl-2-propionamidotetralin (4-P-PDOT) were prepared and tested on cloned MT1 and MT2 receptors, with the purpose of merging previously reported pharmacophores for nonselective agonists and for MT2-selective antagonists. A 8-methoxy group increases binding affinity of both (±)-cis- and (±)-trans-4-P-PDOT, and it can be bioisosterically replaced by a bromine. Conformational analysis of 8-methoxy-4-P-PDOT by molecular dynamics, supported by NMR data, revealed an energetically favored conformation for the (2S,4S)-cis isomer and a less favorable conformation for the (2R,4S)-trans one, fulfilling the requirements of a pharmacophore model for nonselective melatonin receptor agonists. A new superposition model, including features characteristic of MT2-selective antagonists, suggests that MT1/MT2 agonists and MT2 antagonists can share the same arrangement for their pharmacophoric elements. The model correctly predicted the eutomers of (±)-cis- and (±)-trans-4-P-PDOT. The model was validated by preparing three dihydronaphthalene derivatives, either able or not able to reproduce the putative active conformation of 4-P-PDOT.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 11/2011; 54(24):8362-72. · 5.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the synthesis, binding properties and intrinsic activity at MT(1) and MT(2) melatonin receptors of new dimeric melatonin receptor ligands in which two units of the monomeric agonist N-{2-[(3-methoxyphenyl)methylamino]ethyl}acetamide (1) are linked together through different anchor points. Dimerization of compound 1 through the methoxy substituent leads to a substantial improvement in selectivity for the MT(1) receptor, and to a partial agonist behavior. Compound 3a, with a trimethylene linker, was the most selective for the MT(1) subtype (112-fold selectivity) and compound 3d, characterized by a hexamethylene spacer, had the highest MT(1) binding affinity (pK(iMT1)=8.47) and 54-fold MT(1)-selectivity. Dimerization through the aniline nitrogen of 1 abolished MT(1) selectivity, leading to compounds with either a full agonist or an antagonist behavior depending on the nature of the linker.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry 08/2011; 19(16):4910-6. · 2.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A new, robust, and reliable method has been developed for the selective reductive N-alkylation of primary and secondary aromatic amines with some functionalized acetals using TFA/Et(3)SiH as a reagent combination. A variety of unsymmetrically substituted ethylenediamines can be synthesized in a one-pot procedure in excellent yields at room temperature. This new procedure offers significant advantages over previous synthetic approaches, including brevity, mild reaction conditions, excellent yields, and high functional group tolerance.
    The Journal of Organic Chemistry 01/2011; 76(2):704-7. · 4.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The circadian nature of melatonin (MLT) secretion, coupled with the localization of MLT receptors to the suprachiasmatic nucleus, has led to numerous studies of the role of MLT in modulation of the sleep-wake cycle and circadian rhythms in humans. Although much more needs to be understood about the various functions exerted by MLT and its mechanisms of action, three therapeutic agents (ramelteon, prolonged-release MLT, and agomelatine) are already in use, and MLT receptor agonists are now appearing as new promising treatment options for sleep and circadian-rhythm related disorders. In this review, emphasis has been placed on medicinal chemistry strategies leading to MLT receptor agonists, and on the evidence supporting therapeutic efficacy of compounds undergoing clinical evaluation. A wide range of clinical trials demonstrated that ramelteon, prolonged-release MLT and tasimelteon have sleep-promoting effects, providing an important treatment option for insomnia and transient insomnia, even if the improvements of sleep maintenance appear moderate. Well-documented effects of agomelatine suggest that this MLT agonist offers an attractive alternative for the treatment of depression, combining efficacy with a favorable side effect profile. Despite a large number of high affinity nonselective MLT receptor agonists, only limited data on MT₁ or MT₂ subtype-selective compounds are available up to now. Administration of the MT₂-selective agonist IIK7 to rats has proved to decrease NREM sleep onset latency, suggesting that MT₂ receptor subtype is involved in the acute sleep-promoting action of MLT; rigorous clinical studies are needed to demonstrate this hypothesis. Further clinical candidates based on selective activation of MT₁ or MT₂ receptors are expected in coming years.
    CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics 10/2010; 17(6):733-41. · 4.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Increasing clinical evidences suggest that melatonin receptor agonists can represent a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of sleep disturbances and depression. A variety of studies also revealed a role of melatonin and its receptors in different patho-physiological conditions. Due to the multiple effects of this hormone, the design of new agents able to interact selectively with melatonin receptors has become an area of great interest during the last decade. An extensive inspection of patents and scientific literature about MT(1) and MT(2) melatonin receptor agonists reported from 1999 to early 2010. A comprehensive review of structures recently claimed as melatonin receptor agonists and a broad overview of structure-activity relationships for these ligands. After 5 decades of research, the field of melatonin receptor agonists comprises a variety of chemical entities, belonging to structurally different classes. Patents filed since 1999 claim new melatonin receptor agonists, characterized either by improved pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic properties, compared to those of melatonin receptor agonists already approved for clinical uses. The results of preclinical studies on animal models show that melatonin receptor agonists can be considered promising agents for the treatment of CNS-related pathologies.
    Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Patents 08/2010; 20(8):1059-77. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A clean, efficient, and diasteroselective (dr >95%) catalytic hydrogenation of the enamide N-(4-phenyl-3,4-dihydronaphthalen-2-yl)propionamide (2 a) using palladium on carbon is performed. This procedure provides the melatonin receptor ligand (+/-)-cis-4-phenyl-2-propionamidotetralin (cis-4-P-PDOT, 1 a) and its 8-methoxy analog. Furthermore, Rh and Ru catalyzed homogeneous asymmetric hydrogenation of the challenging racemic endocyclic enamide 2 a with several chiral phosphine ligands is studied. The best results, in terms of enantioselectivity, for both diastereomers are obtained when chiral Rh-Josiphos is used as the catalyst.
    Chemistry - An Asian Journal 03/2010; 5(3):550-4. · 4.57 Impact Factor
  • ChemInform 01/2010; 30(31).
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    ABSTRACT: The class of N-(anilinoethyl)amides includes melatonin receptor ligands with varied subtype selectivity and intrinsic activity. One of these ligands, the MT(2)-selective partial agonist UCM765 (N-{2-[(3-methoxyphenyl)phenylamino]ethyl}acetamide), had evidenced hypnotic effects in rodents at doses > or =40 mg kg(-1) (s.c.), in spite of its sub-nanomolar affinity for human melatonin receptors. Supposing that its low in vivo potency could be due, at least in part, to metabolic liability in rat liver, UCM765 was incubated with rat liver S9 fraction and rat, mouse, or human microsomes, and the major metabolites were identified by LC-MS, synthesized, and in vitro tested for their affinity toward MT(1) and MT(2) receptors. The obtained information was exploited to design novel analogues of UCM765 that are more resistant to in vitro oxidative degradation, while maintaining a similar binding profile. The analogue UCM924 (N-{2-[(3-bromophenyl)-(4-fluorophenyl)amino]ethyl}acetamide) displayed a binding profile similar to that of UCM765 on cloned human receptors (MT(2)-selective partial agonist) and a significantly longer half-life in the presence of rat liver S9 fraction.
    ChemMedChem 09/2009; 4(10):1746-55. · 2.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Melatonin is a modified tryptophan with potent biological activity, exerted by stimulation of specific plasma membrane (MT1/MT2) receptors, by lower affinity intracellular enzymatic targets (quinone reductase, calmodulin), or through its strong anti-oxidant ability. Scattered studies also report a perplexing pro-oxidant activity, showing that melatonin is able to stimulate production of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS). Here we show that on U937 human monocytes melatonin promotes intracellular ROS in a fast (<1 min) and transient (up to 5-6 h) way. Melatonin equally elicits its pro-radical effect on a set of normal or tumor leukocytes; intriguingly, ROS production does not lead to oxidative stress, as shown by absence of protein carbonylation, maintenance of free thiols, preservation of viability and regular proliferation rate. ROS production is independent from MT1/MT2 receptor interaction, since a) requires micromolar (as opposed to nanomolar) doses of melatonin; b) is not contrasted by the specific MT1/MT2 antagonist luzindole; c) is not mimicked by a set of MT1/MT2 high affinity melatonin analogues. Instead, chlorpromazine, the calmodulin inhibitor shown to prevent melatonin-calmodulin interaction, also prevents melatonin pro-radical effect, suggesting that the low affinity binding to calmodulin (in the micromolar range) may promote ROS production.
    Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 05/2009; 239(1):37-45. · 3.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The alkyl N-(diphenylmethylene)-α,β-dehydroamino acids 1 have been submitted to 1,3-dipolar cycloadditions with nitrile oxides. The reactivity of these compounds depends on the type and on the stereochemistry of the β-substituents. With the unsubstituted terms 1a,b the reaction occurs on the C,C double bond, providing a good method for the synthesis of the 4,5-dihydroisoxazole derivatives 3a,b,c and for the gem-functionalized 4,5-dihydroisoxazoles amino carboxylic ester 5. The β-substituted compounds 1c,d,e, inert to 1,1-dimethylethylnitrile oxide, undergo the reaction to the N,C double bond, thus giving with 2a,b the 4,5-dihydro-1,2,4-oxadiazole derivatives 4. All the reactions occur with high site- and regioselectivity.
    Journal of Heterocyclic Chemistry 03/2009; 29(6):1593 - 1598. · 1.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The ethylaluminum dichloride catalyzed Michael-type addition of indoles 1a-h to the N-(diphenylmethylene)-α,β-didehydroamino acid esters 2a-c allows a new synthesis of β-methyltryptophanes 41,m and a new route for 1,1-diphenyl-3-carbalkoxy-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-β-carbolines 5a-m.
    Journal of Heterocyclic Chemistry 03/2009; 29(2):305 - 309. · 1.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine) is synthesized and released by the pineal gland following a circadian rhythm characterized by high levels during the night. It shows several pharmacological effects on diverse cellular and animal models, mainly related to either its antioxidant activity or to its ability to activate specific receptors (MTr). Melatonin is widely used as a self-administered food additive, but its therapeutic potential needs more investigation and is hampered by its poor pharmacokinetics. This review will focus on the medicinal chemistry of agonist ligands of the two human GPCRs MT(1) and MT(2) melatonin receptors. The recent introduction of ramelteon, a non-selective MT(1)/MT(2) agonist for the treatment of insomnia, and the advancement to clinical trials of other MTr agonists have renewed interest for different classes of compounds endowed with this activity. Several chemical classes of MTr agonists are described in the literature, generally characterized by an indole, or an indole bioisostere, carrying an amide side chain and a methoxy group, or substituents with similar stereoelectronic features. Abundant information is available for non-selective MT(1)/MT(2) ligands, and several molecular models, both ligand- and receptor-based, have been proposed to rationalize their structure activity relationships. Fewer classes of selective agonists have been reported in the literature, and they could help clarifying the physiological role of the two receptor subtypes. A brief discussion on the therapeutic potential of this class of compounds is based on the clinical data available for the agonists ramelteon, agomelatine, beta-methyl-6-chloromelatonin (TIK-301) and VEC-162.
    Current topics in medicinal chemistry 02/2008; 8(11):954-68. · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A novel, efficient and diastereoselective procedure was developed for the gram-scale synthesis of cis-4-phenyl-2-propionamidotetralin (4-P-PDOT), a selective MT(2) melatonin receptor antagonist. The synthetic strategy involved the conversion of 4-phenyl-2-tetralone to enamide followed by diastereoselective reduction affording cis-4-P-PDOT in good yield. The mechanism of the reduction step was explored by employing deuterated reagents.
    Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry 02/2008; 6(1):147-50. · 3.57 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

251 Citations
148.88 Total Impact Points


  • 1993–2014
    • Università degli Studi di Urbino "Carlo Bo"
      • • Department of Biomolecular Science
      • • Istituto di Chimica Farmaceutica
      Urbino, The Marches, Italy
  • 2011–2012
    • McGill University
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 2003–2012
    • Università degli studi di Parma
      • Department of Pharmacy
      Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • 2004
    • University of Milan
      • Department of Pharmacology, Chemotherapy and Medical Toxicology
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2000
    • University of Udine
      • Department of Medical and Biological Sciences
      Udine, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy