Annalida Bedini

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

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Publications (56)193.78 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: In humans, chronic anxiety represents an independent risk factor for cardiac arrhythmias and sudden death. Here we evaluate in male Wistar rats bred for high (HAB) and low (LAB) anxiety-related behavior, as well as non-selected (NAB) animals, the relationship between trait anxiety and cardiac electrical instability and investigate whether pharmacological augmentation of endocannabinoid anandamide-mediated signaling exerts anxiolytic-like and cardioprotective effects. HAB rats displayed (i) a higher incidence of ventricular tachyarrhythmias induced by isoproterenol, and (ii) a larger spatial dispersion of ventricular refractoriness assessed by means of an epicardial mapping protocol. In HAB rats, acute pharmacological inhibition of the anandamide-degrading enzyme, fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), with URB694 (0.3 mg/kg), (i) decreased anxiety-like behavior in the elevated plus maze, (ii) increased anandamide levels in the heart, (iii) reduced isoproterenol-induced occurrence of ventricular tachyarrhythmias, and (iv) corrected alterations of ventricular refractoriness. The anti-arrhythmic effect of URB694 was prevented by pharmacological blockade of the cannabinoid type 1 (CB1), but not of the CB2, receptor. These findings suggest that URB694 exerts anxiolytic-like and cardioprotective effects in HAB rats, the latter via anandamide-mediated activation of CB1 receptors. Thus, pharmacological inhibition of FAAH might be a viable pharmacological strategy for the treatment of anxiety-related cardiac dysfunction.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Scientific Reports
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    ABSTRACT: In humans, depression is often triggered by prolonged exposure to psychosocial stressors and is often associated with cardiovascular comorbidity. Mounting evidence suggests a role for endocannabinoid signaling in the regulation of both emotional behavior and cardiovascular function. Here, we examined cardiac activity in a rodent model of social stress-induced depression and investigated whether pharmacological inhibition of the enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which terminates signaling of the endocannabinoid anandamide, exerts antidepressant-like and cardioprotective effects. Male Wistar Kyoto rats were exposed to five weeks of repeated social stress or control procedure. Starting from the third week, they received daily administration of the selective FAAH inhibitor URB694 (0.1mg/kg, i.p.) or vehicle. Cardiac electrical activity was recorded by radiotelemetry. Repeated social stress triggered biological and behavioral changes that mirror symptoms of human depression, such as (i) reductions in body weight gain and sucrose solution preference, (ii) hyperactivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis, and (iii) increased immobility in the forced swim test. Moreover, stressed rats showed (i) alterations in heart rate daily rhythm and cardiac autonomic neural regulation, (ii) a larger incidence of spontaneous arrhythmias, and (iii) signs of cardiac hypertrophy. Daily treatment with URB694 (i) increased central and peripheral anandamide levels, (ii) corrected stress-induced alterations of biological and behavioral parameters, and (iii) protected the heart against the adverse effects of social stress. Repeated social stress in Wistar Kyoto rats reproduces aspects of human depression/cardiovascular comorbidity. Pharmacological enhancement of anandamide signaling might be a promising strategy for the treatment of these comorbid conditions.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · European neuropsychopharmacology: the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology
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    ABSTRACT: Molecular superposition models guided the design of novel melatonin receptor ligands characterized by a 2-acylaminomethyltetrahydroquinoline scaffold. Starting from the structure of N-anilinoethylamide ligands, the flexible chain was conformationally constrained to reproduce the bioactive conformation of melatonin. Structure-activity relationships were investigated, focusing on the substituent at the nitrogen atom, the position of the methoxy group and the replacement of the amide side chain by urea and thiourea groups. The compounds were tested for binding affinity and intrinsic activity at human MT1 and MT2 receptors. Structural optimization resulted in N-[(1-benzyl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-5-methoxyquinolin-2-yl)methyl]propionamide (UCM1014), with picomolar MT2 binding affinity (Ki = 0.001 nM), more than 10,000-fold selectivity over the MT1 receptor and a full agonist profile (GTPγS test), being the most potent MT2-selective full agonist reported to date. Molecular dynamics simulations provided a rationale for high binding affinity, stereoselectivity and agonist behavior of these novel melatonin receptor ligands, based on superposition models and conformational preference.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Ramelteon , a selective melatonin receptor agonist, is the first member of a novel class of hypnotics. It is approved for the treatment of insomnia characterized by sleep onset difficulties in the US and Japan, but not in Europe. Areas covered: The main clinical properties as well as safety issues of ramelteon are described. Relevant publications reporting ramelteon characteristics and its use in insomnia disorder were identified using PubMed and SciFinder databases up to January 2015. Additional information was collected from the US clinical trials database and from Takeda website. Expert opinion: Despite its high prevalence and economic burden, insomnia disorder remains mostly untreated. Ramelteon has demonstrated sleep-promoting effects in clinical trials and clinical practice, and it is not associated with the adverse effects typical of other class of hypnotics. Its efficacy appears to be relatively modest compared to current insomnia therapeutics, and its use seems restricted to patients with sleep onset difficulties. Assessment of ramelteon effects on sleep quality and maintenance, daytime function and of improvements in comorbid insomnia conditions deserves further studies. The potential application of ramelteon in other pathological conditions could open the way to novel therapeutic approaches as well as to new market opportunities.
    No preview · Article · May 2015 · Expert Opinion on Drug Metabolism & Toxicology
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    ABSTRACT: The selective C3-alkylation of indoles with N-protected ethanolamines involving the "borrowing hydrogen" strategy is described. This method provides convenient and sustainable access to several tryptamine derivatives.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · The Journal of Organic Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: Neuropathic pain is an important public health problem for which only a few treatments are available. Preclinical studies show that melatonin (MLT), a neurohormone acting on MT1 and MT2 receptors, has analgesic properties, likely through MT2 receptors. Here, we determined the effects of the novel selective MLT MT2 receptor partial agonist N-{2-([3-bromophenyl]-4-fluorophenylamino)ethyl}acetamide (UCM924) in 2 neuropathic pain models in rats and examined its supraspinal mechanism of action. In rat L5-L6 spinal nerve ligation and spared nerve injury models, UCM924 (20-40 mg/kg, subcutaneously) produced a prolonged antinociceptive effect that is : (1) dose-dependent and blocked by the selective MT2 receptor antagonist 4-phenyl-2-propionamidotetralin, (2) superior to a high dose of MLT (150 mg/kg) and comparable with gabapentin (100 mg/kg), but (3) without noticeable motor coordination impairments in the rotarod test. Using double staining immunohistochemistry, we found that MT2 receptors are expressed by glutamatergic neurons in the rostral ventrolateral periaqueductal gray. Using in vivo electrophysiology combined with tail flick, we observed that microinjection of UCM924 into the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray decreased tail flick responses, depressed the firing activity of ON cells, and activated the firing of OFF cells; all effects were MT2 receptor-dependent. Altogether, these data demonstrate that selective MT2 receptor partial agonists have analgesic properties through modulation of brainstem descending antinociceptive pathways, and MT2 receptors may represent a novel target in the treatment of neuropathic pain.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Pain
  • Silvia Rivara · Daniele Pala · Annalida Bedini · Gilberto Spadoni
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Melatonin is a neurohormone involved in the regulation of circadian rhythms, with potent antioxidant activity. It has a wide functional repertoire, with effects almost on all tissues and organs. It is mainly used as a dietary supplement for sleep regulation and re-synchronization of disrupted circadian rhythms. Melatonin has very low toxicity, but some pharmacokinetic issues, such as limited oral bioavailability and short half-life, limit its tissue availability. Areas covered: Patents and patent applications from 2012 to September 2014 in which melatonin or synthetic analogues are claimed for the prevention or treatment of pathological conditions. Expert opinion: Melatonin is considered a valuable substance that can be safely administered for the prevention and treatment of many diverse diseases. A major trend in 2012 - 2014 patents is the co-administration of melatonin with other drugs to increase the efficacy of the treatment and reduce side-effects. Two different actions have been combined in hybrid ligands (e.g., melatonin-tamoxifen and melatonin-tacrine derivatives). Further experimental evidence is needed to support the usefulness of these approaches. The number of new melatonin analogues has shown a marked decrease in the past 3 years, with claimed applications mainly as hypnotic or antioxidant agents.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Patents
  • Silvia Rivara · Marco Mor · Annalida Bedini · Gilberto Spadoni

    No preview · Chapter · Sep 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Melatonin is an endogenous molecule involved in many pathophysiological processes. In addition to the control of circadian rhythms, its antioxidant and neuroprotective properties have been widely described. Thus far, different bivalent compounds composed by a melatonin molecule linked to another neuroprotective agent were synthesized and tested for their ability to block neurodegenerative processes in vitro and in vivo. To identify a novel class of potential neuroprotective compounds, we prepared a series of bivalent ligands, in which a prototypic melatonergic ligand is connected to an imidazole-based H3 receptor antagonist through a flexible linker. Four imidazolyl-alkyloxy-anilinoethylamide derivatives, characterized by linkers of different length, were synthesized and their binding affinity for human MT1, MT2 and H3 receptor subtypes was evaluated. Among the tested compounds, 14c and 14d, bearing a pentyl and a hexyl linker, respectively, were able to bind to all receptor subtypes at micromolar concentrations and represent the first bivalent melatonergic/histaminergic ligands reported so far. These preliminary results, based on binding affinity evaluation, pave the way for the future development of new dual-acting compounds targeting both melatonin and histamine receptors, which could represent promising therapeutic agents for the treatment of neurodegenerative pathologies.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · International Journal of Molecular Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Many known 5-HT7 ligands contain either a serotonin-like or an arylpiperazine structure that, in published SAR studies, are generally supposed to bind the same receptor pocket. Conversely, we explored the hypothesis that two such moieties can co-exist in the same ligand, binding to different pockets. We thus designed and synthesized a set of compounds including both a 5-hydroxyindol-3-ylethyl and a 1-arylpiperazine moieties connected by a short linker. The compounds were tested for their affinity for human 5-HT7 serotonin receptor. We further prepared a novel series of 5-HT7 ligands, where the 5-hydroxyindol-3-ylethyl moiety was bioisosterically replaced by a 3-hydroxyanilinoalkyl one. Among the newly synthesized compounds, potent ligands at the 5-HT7 receptor, behaving as antagonists in functional tests, were identified, even if they showed limited subtype selectivity. Docking studies within a model of the 5-HT7 receptor showed that the binding site can actually accommodate both moieties, with the serotonin-like one in the putative orthosteric site and the arylpiperazine one occupying an accessory pocket. The present results demonstrate that it is possible to devise and develop new 5-HT7 ligands merging two privileged structures in the same molecule.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
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    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.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Neuroscience Letters

  • No preview · Article · Jan 2014
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · International Journal of Molecular Sciences
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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.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2012 · ChemMedChem
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2012 · Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
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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.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2012 · The Journal of Organic Chemistry
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2011 · Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry
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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.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2011 · Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
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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.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2011 · Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry