Loss of orexin-producing neurons results in narcolepsy with cataplexy, and orexin agonists have been shown to increase wakefulness and alleviate narcolepsy symptoms in animal models. Several OX2R agonists have been reported but with little or no activity at OX1R. We conducted structure-activity relationship studies on the OX2R agonist YNT-185 (2) and discovered dual agonists such as RTOXA-43 (40) with EC50's of 24 nM at both OX2R and OX1R. Computational modeling studies based on the agonist-bound OX2R cryogenic electron microscopy structures showed that 40 bound in the same binding pocket and interactions of the pyridylmethyl group of 40 with OX1R may have contributed to its high OX1R potency. Intraperitoneal injection of 40 increased time awake, decreased time asleep, and increased sleep/wake consolidation in 12-month old mice. This work provides a promising dual small molecule agonist and supports development of orexin agonists as potential treatments for orexin-deficient disorders such as narcolepsy.
Discovery of arylsulfonamides as dual orexin receptor agonists
Zhang, D., Perrey, D. A., Decker, A. M., Langston, T. L., Mavanji, V., Harris, D. L., Kotz, C. M., & Zhang, Y. (2021). Discovery of arylsulfonamides as dual orexin receptor agonists. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 64(12), 8806-8825. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jmedchem.1c00841, https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jmedchem.1c00841