• Journal Article

17β-Nitro-5α-androstan-3α-ol and its 3β-methyl derivative: Neurosteroid analogs with potent anticonvulsant and anxiolytic activities

Citation

Runyon, S., Orr, M., Navarro, H., Kepler, J., Rogawski, M. A., Kaminski, R. M., & Cook, C. (2009). 17β-Nitro-5α-androstan-3α-ol and its 3β-methyl derivative: Neurosteroid analogs with potent anticonvulsant and anxiolytic activities. European Journal of Pharmacology, 617(1-3), 68-73. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2009.06.052

Abstract

Many 17-substituted androstan-3alpha-ol analogs act as positive allosteric modulators of GABA(A) receptors and exert anticonvulsant and anxiolytic-like activity actions in animal models. The endogenous neurosteroid allopregnanolone (17beta-acetyl; 1) is among the most potent of these. Here we demonstrate that 3alpha-hydroxy-17beta-nitro-5alpha-androstane (2b) and its 3beta-methyl analog (3alpha-hydroxy-3beta-methyl-17beta-nitro-5alpha-androstane; 2c) modulate GABA(A) receptors as assessed by [(35)S]t-butylbicyclo-phosphorothionate and [(3)H]flunitrazepam binding with potencies equivalent to or greater than 1. These compounds also had potencies equivalent to or greater than 1 in the pentylenetetrazol and 6Hz seizure models in the mouse. Furthermore, 2b exhibited anxiolytic-like activity in the elevated zero maze. The 3beta-hydroxy, 3alpha-desmethyl analog (2a) was devoid of activity on GABA(A) receptors in vitro but had moderate activity in the seizure models, possibly as a result of epimerization in vivo at the 3-position. This conclusion was supported by the lack of in vivo activity of the 3beta-hydroxy, 3alpha-methyl analog (2d), which is not expected to undergo epimerization. We conclude that nitro can serve as a bioisostere for acetyl at the 17beta-position of 5alpha-androstan-3alpha-ol, such that the nitro analog fully retains the bioactivity of the endogenous neurosteroid at GABA(A) receptors