Hernán A Navarro

Research Triangle Park Laboratories, Inc., Raleigh, North Carolina, United States

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Publications (94)385.17 Total impact

  • Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 08/2014; DOI:10.1021/jm5008177 · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The success rate for central nervous system (CNS) drug candidates in the clinic is relatively low compared to the industry average across other therapeutic areas. Penetration through the blood-brain barrier (BBB) to reach the therapeutic target is a major obstacle in development. The rapid CNS penetration of salvinorin A has suggested that the neoclerodane nucleus offers an excellent scaffold for developing antiproliferative compounds that enter the CNS. The Liebeskind-Srogl reaction was used as the main carbon-carbon bond-forming step toward the synthesis of quinone-containing salvinorin A analogues. Quinone-containing salvinorin A analogues were shown to have antiproliferative activity against the MCF7 breast cancer cell line, but show no significant activity at the κ-opioid receptors. In an in vitro model of BBB penetration, quinone-containing salvinorin A analogues were shown to passively diffuse across the cell monolayer. The analogues, however, are substrates of P-glycoprotein, and thus further modification of the molecules is needed to reduce the affinity for the efflux transporter.
    Journal of Natural Products 07/2014; 77(8). DOI:10.1021/np5002048 · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A series of ring A modified analogs of nantenine as well as structural variants in ring C were synthesized and evaluated for antagonist activity at 5-HT2A and α1A receptors. Halogenation improves 5-HT2A antagonist potency in molecules containing a C1 methoxyl/C2 methoxyl or C1 methoxyl/C2 hydroxyl moiety. Bromination or iodination (but not chlorination) with the latter moiety also significantly increased α1A antagonist potency. Homologation or contraction of ring C adversely affected antagonist activity at both receptors, implying that a six-membered ring C motif is beneficial for high antagonist potency at both receptors. Molecular docking studies suggest that the improved antagonist activity (by virtue of improved affinity) of C3 halogenated aporphines in this study, is attributable to favorable interactions with the C3 halogen and F339 and/or F340.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Chemical Biology &amp Drug Design 04/2014; DOI:10.1111/cbdd.12345 · 2.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: N-substituted trans-3,4-dimethyl-4-(3-hydroxyphenyl)piperidines (2a-b) are opioid receptor antagonists where the antagonist properties are not due to the type of N-substituent. In order to gain a better understanding of the contribution that the 3- and 4-methyl groups make to the pure antagonist properties of 2a-b, we synthesized analogues of 2a-b which lacked the 4-methyl (5a-b), 3-methyl (6a-b) and both the 3- and 4-methyl group (7a-b) and compared their opioid receptor properties. We found that (1) all N-methyl and N-phenylpropyl substituted compounds were non-selective opioid antagonists (2) all N-phenylpropyl analogues were more potent than their N-methyl counterparts and (3) compounds 2a-b which have both a 3- and 4-methyl substituent, were more potent antagonists than analogs 5a-b, 6a-b and 7a-b. We also found that the removal of 3-methyl substituent of N-methyl and N-phenylpropyl 3-methyl-4-(3-hydroxyphenyl)piperazines (8a-b) gives (4a-b) which are opioid antagonists.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 03/2014; 57(7). DOI:10.1021/jm500184j · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A set of aporphine analogs related to nantenine was evaluated for antagonist activity at 5-HT2A and α1A adrenergic receptors. With regards to 5-HT2A receptor antagonism, a C2 allyl group is detrimental to activity. The chiral center of nantenine is not important for 5-HT2A antagonist activity, however the N6 nitrogen atom is a critical feature for 5-HT2A antagonism. Compound 12b was the most potent 5-HT2A aporphine antagonist identified in this study and has similar potency to previously identified aporphine antagonists 2 and 3. The ring A and N6 modifications examined were detrimental to α1A antagonism. A slight eutomeric preference for the R enantiomer of nantenine was observed in relation to α1A antagonism.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 03/2014; 24(7). DOI:10.1016/j.bmcl.2014.02.066 · 2.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The natural stilbene pawhuskin A has been shown to function as an opioid receptor antagonist, with preferential binding to the κ receptor. This finding encouraged assembly of a set of analogues to probe the importance of key structural features. Assays on these compounds determined that one (compound 29) shows potent opioid receptor binding activity and significantly improved selectivity for the κ receptor. These studies begin to illuminate the structural features of these non-nitrogenous opioid receptor antagonists that are required for activity.
    Journal of Natural Products 01/2014; 77(2). DOI:10.1021/np4009046 · 3.95 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 2'-Fluoro-3-(substituted pyridine)epibatidine analogues 7a-e and 8a-e were synthesized and their in vitro and in vivo nAChR properties determined. 2'-Fluoro-3'-(4"-pyridinyl)deschloroepibatidine (7a) and 2'-fluoro-3'-(3"-pyridinyl)deschloroepibatidine (8a) were synthesized as bioisosteres of the 4'-nitrophenyl lead compounds 5a and 5g. Comparison of the in vitro nAChR properties of 7a and 8a to those of 5a and 5g showed that 7a and 8a had in vitro nAChR properties similar to those of 5a and 5g, but both were more selective for the α4β2-nAChR relative to the α3β4- and α7-nAChRs than 5a and 5g. The in vivo nAChR properties in mice of 7a were similar to those of 5a. In contrast, 8a was an agonist in all four mouse acute tests, whereas 5g was active only in a spontaneous activity test. In addition, 5g was a nicotine antagonist in both the tail-flick and hot-plate tests, whereas as 8a was only an antagonist in the tail-flick test.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 01/2014; 57(3). DOI:10.1021/jm401602p · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bupropion, introduced as an antidepressant in the 1980s, is also effective as a smoking cessation aid and is beneficial in the treatment of methamphetamine addiction, cocaine dependence, addictive behaviors such as pathological gambling, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. (2S,3S)-hydroxybupropion is an active metabolite of bupropion produced in humans that contributes to antidepressant and smoking cessation efficacy and perhaps benefits in other CNS disorders. Mechanisms underlying its antidepressant and smoking abstinence remain elusive. However, it seems likely that efficacy is due to a combination of the effects of bupropion and/or its active metabolite (2S,3S)-hydroxybupropion involving the inhibition of reuptake of dopamine (DA) and NE in reward centers of the brain and the noncompetitive antagonism of α4β2- and α3β4*-nAChRs. These combined effects of bupropion and its active metabolite may be responsible for its ability to decrease nicotine reward and withdrawal. Studies directed toward development of a bupropion analog for treatment of cocaine addiction led to compounds, typified by 2-(N-cyclopropylamino)-3'-chloropropiophenone (RTI-6037-39), thought to act as indirect DA agonists. In addition, (2S,3S)-hydroxybupropion analogs were developed, which had varying degrees of DA and NE uptake inhibition and antagonism of nAChRs. These compounds will be valuable tools for animal behavioral studies and as clinical candidates. Here, we review the (1) early studies leading to the development of bupropion, (2) bupropion metabolism and the identification of (2S,3R)-hydroxybupropion as an active metabolite, (3) mechanisms of bupropion and metabolite action, (4) effects in animal behavioral studies, (5) results of clinical studies, and (6) development of bupropion analogs as potential pharmacotherapies for treating nicotine and cocaine addiction.
    Advances in pharmacology (San Diego, Calif.) 01/2014; 69:177-216. DOI:10.1016/B978-0-12-420118-7.00005-6
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    ABSTRACT: Transformations that selectively modify the furan ring present in a variety of naturals products would be useful in the synthesis of biological probes but remain largely underexplored. The neoclerodane diterpene salvinorin A, isolated from Salvia divinorum, is an example of a furan-containing natural product. Following selective bromination of salvinorin A, Suzuki-Miyaura and Sonogashira couplings were accomplished in moderate to good yields without hydrolyzing the labile C-2 acetate or altering the stereochemistry of the epimerizable centers.
    Organic Letters 11/2013; 15(23). DOI:10.1021/ol4027528 · 6.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In previous studies we reported that addition of 7α-acylamino groups to N-phenylpropyl-4β-methyl-5-(3-hydroxyphenyl)morphan (4) led to compounds that were pure opioid receptor antagonists. In contrast to these findings we report in this study that addition of a 7α-amino (5a), 7α-alkylamino (5b-e), or 7α-dialkylamino 5f-h) group to 4 leads to opioid receptor ligands with varying degrees of agonist/antagonist activity. The 7α-amino and 7α-methylamino analogues were full agonists at the μ and δ receptors and antagonists at the κ receptor. The 7α-cyclopropylmethylamino analogue 5h was a full agonist at the μ receptor with weaker agonist activity at the δ and κ receptors. Whereas the addition of a 7α-acylamino group to the pure non-selective opioid receptor antagonist N-phenylpropyl-4β-methyl-5-(3-hydroxyphenyl)morphan (4) led to κ selective pure opioid receptor antagonist, the addition of a 7α-amino, 7α-alkylamino or 7α-dialkylamino group to 4 leads to opioid ligands that are largely μ or δ agonist with mixed agonist/antagonist properties.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 10/2013; 56(21). DOI:10.1021/jm401250s · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is continuing interest in the discovery and development of new κ opioid receptor antagonists. We recently reported that N-substituted 3-methyl-4-(3-hydroxyphenyl)piperazines were a new class of opioid receptor antagonists. In this study we report the syntheses of two piperazine JDTic-like analogues. Evaluation of the two compounds in an in vitro [(35)S]GTPγS binding assay showed that neither compound showed the high potency and κ opioid receptor selectivity of JDTic. A library of compounds using the core scaffold 21 was synthesized and tested for their ability to inhibit [(35)S]GTPγS binding stimulated by the selective κ opioid agonist U69,593. These studies led to N-[(1S)-1-{[(3S)-4-(3-hydroxyphenyl)-3-methylpiperazin-1-yl]methyl}-2-methylpropyl]-4-phenoxybenzamide (11a), a compound that showed good κ opioid receptor antagonist properties. An SAR study based on 11a provided 28 novel analogues. Evaluation of these 28 compounds in the [(35)S]GTPγS binding assay showed that several of the analogues were potent and selective κ opioid receptor antagonists.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 05/2013; 56(11). DOI:10.1021/jm400275h · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Herein, we report the synthesis and nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) in vitro and in vivo pharmacological properties of 2'-fluoro-3'-(substituted phenyl)deschloroepibatidines 5b-g, analogues of 3'-(4-nitrophenyl) compound 5a. All compounds had high affinity for α4β2-nAChR and low affinity for α7-nAChR. Initial electrophysiological studies showed that all analogues were antagonists at α4β2-, α3β4-, and α7-nAChRs. The 4-carbamoylphenyl analogue 5g was highly selective for α4β2-nAChR over α3β4- and α7-nAChRs. All the analogues were antagonists of nicotine-induced antinociception in the tail-flick test. Molecular modeling docking studies using the agonist-bound form of the X-ray crystal structure of the acetylcholine binding protein suggested several different binding modes for epibatidine, varenicline, and 5a-g. In particular, a unique binding mode for 5g was suggested by these docking simulations. The high binding affinity, in vitro efficacy, and selectivity of 5g for α4β2-nAChR combined with its nAChR functional antagonist properties suggest that 5g will be a valuable pharmacological tool for studying the nAChR and may have potential as a pharmacotherapy for addiction and other central nervous system disorders.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 06/2012; 55(14):6512-22. DOI:10.1021/jm300575y · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In an effort to discover potent and selective metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 (mGluR5) antagonists, 15 tetrahydropyrimidinone analogues of 1-(3-chlorophenyl)-3-(1-methyl-4-oxo-4,5-dihydro-1H-imidazol-2-yl)-urea (fenobam) were synthesized. These compounds were evaluated for antagonism of glutamate-mediated mobilization of internal calcium in an mGluR5 in vitro efficacy assay. The IC(50) value for 1-(3-chlorophenyl)-3-(1-methyl-4-oxo-1,4,5,6-tetrahydropyridine)urea (4g) was essentially identical to that of fenobam.
    ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters 12/2011; 2(12):882-884. DOI:10.1021/ml200162f · 3.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A series of C1, C2, C3 and N6 analogs of nantenine (2) was synthesized and evaluated in 5-HT(2A) and α(1A) receptor functional assays. Alkyl substitution of the C1 and N6 methyl groups of nantenine provided selective 5-HT(2A) and α(1A) antagonists, respectively. The C2 alkyloxy analogs studied were generally selective for α(1A) versus 5-HT(2A). The C3 bromo analog 15 is one of the most potent aporphinoid 5-HT(2A) antagonists known presently.
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry 08/2011; 19(19):5861-8. DOI:10.1016/j.bmc.2011.08.019 · 2.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In previous studies we showed that 3-(substituted phenylethynyl)-5-methyl[1,2,4]triazine analogues of MPEP were potent antagonists of glutamate-mediated mobilization of internal calcium in an mGluR5 in vitro efficacy assay. In the present study we report the synthesis and evaluation of six 3-(substituted biphenylethynyl)-5-methyl[1,2,4]triazines (5a-f), and five 3-(substituted phenoxyphenylethynyl)-5-methyltriazines (6a-e). Compound 2-(4-fluorophenyl-5-[2-(5-methyl[1,2,4]triazine-3-yl)ethynyl]benzonitrile (5f) with an IC(50) of 28.2 nM was the most potent analogue.
    Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry 06/2011; 9(11):4276-86. DOI:10.1039/c0ob01190h · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Toward development of smoking cessation aids superior to bupropion (2), we describe synthesis of 2-(substituted phenyl)-3,5,5-trimethylmorpholine analogues 5a-5h and their effects on inhibition of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin uptake, nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) function, acute actions of nicotine, and nicotine-conditioned place preference (CPP). Several analogues encompassing aryl substitutions, N-alkylation, and alkyl extensions of the morpholine ring 3-methyl group provided analogues more potent in vitro than (S,S)-hydroxybupropion (4a) as inhibitors of dopamine or norepinephrine uptake and antagonists of nAChR function. All of the new (S,S)-5 analogues had better potency than (S,S)-4a as blockers of acute nicotine analgesia in the tail-flick test. Two analogues with highest potency at α3β4*-nAChR and among the most potent transporter inhibitors have better potency than (S,S)-4a in blocking nicotine-CPP. Collectively, these findings illuminate mechanisms of action of 2 analogues and identify deshydroxybupropion analogues 5a-5h as possibly superior candidates as aids to smoking cessation.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 02/2011; 54(5):1441-8. DOI:10.1021/jm1014555 · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is a need for different and better aids to tobacco product use cessation. Useful smoking cessation aids, bupropion (2) and varenicline (3), share some chemical features with 3-phenyltropanes (4), which have promise in cocaine dependence therapy. Here we report studies to generate and characterize pharmacodynamic features of 3-phenyltropane analogues. These studies extend our work on the multiple molecular target model for aids to smoking cessation. We identified several new 3-phenyltropane analogues that are superior to 2 in inhibition of dopamine, norepinephrine, and sometimes serotonin reuptake. All of these ligands also act as inhibitors of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) function with a selectivity profile that favors, like 2, inhibition of α3β4*-nAChR. Many of these ligands also block acute effects of nicotine-induced antinociception, locomotor activity, and hypothermia. Importantly, all except one of the analogues tested have better potencies in inhibition of nicotine conditioned place preference than 2. We have identified new compounds that have utility as research tools and possible promise for treatment of nicotine dependence.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 11/2010; 53(23). DOI:10.1021/jm100994w · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this study, we compared the in vitro and in vivo neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) properties of 1,2,3,3a,4,8b-hexahydro-2-benzyl-6-N,N-dimethylamino-1-methylindeno[1,2,-b]pyrrole (HDMP, 4) to that of negative allosteric modulator (NAM), PCP. Patch-clamp experiments showed that HDMP exhibited an inhibitory functional activity at α7 nAChRs with an IC(50) of 0.07 μM, and was 357- and 414-fold less potent at α4β2 and α3β4 nAChRs, with IC(50)s of 25.1 and 29.0 μM, respectively. Control patch-clamp experiments showed that PCP inhibited α7, α4β2 and α3β4 nAChRs with IC(50)s of to 1.3, 29.0 and 6.4 μM, respectively. Further, HDMP did not exhibit any appreciable binding affinity to either α7 or α4β2 nAChRs, suggesting its action via a non-competitive mechanism at these neuronal nAChR subtypes. The in vivo study showed that HDMP was a potent antagonist of nicotine-induced analgesia in the tail-flick (AD(50)=0.008 mg/kg), but not in the hot-plate test. All together, our in vitro and in vivo data suggest that HDMP is a novel NAM of neuronal nAChRs with potent inhibitory activity at α7 nAChR subtype at concentrations ≤ 1μM that are not effective for α4β2 and α3β4 nAChRs.
    Neuropharmacology 11/2010; 59(6):511-7. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2010.07.006 · 4.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This report describes the discovery that 1-substituted 4-(3-hydroxyphenyl)piperazines are pure opioid receptor antagonists. Compounds in this new series include N-phenylpropyl (3S)-3-methyl-4-(3-hydroxyphenyl)piperazine and (3R)-3-methyl-4-(3-hydroxyphenyl)piperazine, both of which diaplay low nanomolar potencies at μ, δ, and κ receptors and pure antagonist properties in a [(35)S]GTPγS assay.
    ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters 10/2010; 1(7):365-369. DOI:10.1021/ml100126b · 3.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bupropion is an atypical antidepressant that also has utility as a smoking cessation aid. Hydroxybupropions are major metabolites of bupropion and are believed to contribute to antidepressant and perhaps smoking cessation activities. Because bupropion metabolism is more similar in humans and mice than in humans and rats, the present study investigated effects of hydroxybupropion enantiomers in mouse behavioral models measuring various aspects of nicotine dependence. Bupropion and (2S,3S)-hydroxybupropion, but not (2R,3R)-hydroxybupropion, significantly decreased the development of nicotine reward as measured in the conditioned place preference and withdrawal paradigm in mice. Bupropion and both of its metabolites reversed affective and somatic withdrawal signs in nicotine-dependent mice, but the (2S,3S)-hydroxymetabolite had higher potency. Bupropion and (2S,3S)-, but not (2R,3R)-hydroxybupropion, produced partial substitution for nicotine in drug discrimination tests. Our findings support the hypothesis that the effects of bupropion on measures of nicotine dependence reflect actions of bupropion itself, its hydroxymetabolites, or a combination and suggest that the (2S,3S)-hydroxy isomer is the most active principle, making it a potentially better drug candidate for smoking cessation than bupropion.
    Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 09/2010; 334(3):1087-95. DOI:10.1124/jpet.110.166850 · 3.89 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
385.17 Total Impact Points


  • 1997–2014
    • Research Triangle Park Laboratories, Inc.
      Raleigh, North Carolina, United States
    • Brookhaven National Laboratory
      New York, New York, United States
  • 2013
    • University of Kansas
      • Department of Medicinal Chemistry
      Lawrence, Kansas, United States
  • 2001–2010
    • Virginia Commonwealth University
      • Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
      Richmond, Virginia, United States
  • 2008–2009
    • RTI International
      Durham, North Carolina, United States
  • 2006–2007
    • University of Iowa
      • College of Pharmacy
      Iowa City, Iowa, United States
  • 2001–2002
    • University of Illinois at Chicago
      • Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy
      Chicago, Illinois, United States