4-(3-Aminoazetidin-1-yl)pyrimidin-2-amines as High-Affinity Non-imidazole Histamine H3 Receptor Agonists with in Vivo Central Nervous System Activity

Gábor Wágner, Tamara A.M. Mocking, Marta Arimont, Gustavo Provensi, Barbara Rani, Bruna Silva-Marques, Gniewomir Latacz, Daniel Da Costa Pereira, Christina Karatzidou, Henry F. Vischer, Maikel Wijtmans, Katarzyna Kieć-Kononowicz, Iwan J.P. De Esch, Rob Leurs*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Despite the high diversity of histamine H3 receptor (H3R) antagonist/inverse agonist structures, partial or full H3R agonists have typically been imidazole derivatives. An in-house screening campaign intriguingly afforded the non-imidazole 4-(3-azetidin-1-yl)pyrimidin-2-amine 11b as a partial H3R agonist. Here, the design, synthesis, and structure-activity relationships of 11b analogues are described. This series yields several non-imidazole full agonists with potencies varying with the alkyl substitution pattern on the basic amine following the in vitro evaluation of H3R agonism using a cyclic adenosine monophosphate response element-luciferase reporter gene assay. The key compound VUF16839 (14d) combines nanomolar on-target activity (pKi = 8.5, pEC50 = 9.5) with weak activity on cytochrome P450 enzymes and good metabolic stability. The proposed H3R binding mode of 14d indicates key interactions similar to those attained by histamine. In vivo evaluation of 14d in a social recognition test in mice revealed an amnesic effect at 5 mg/kg intraperitoneally. The excellent in vitro and in vivo pharmacological profiles and the non-imidazole structure of 14d make it a promising tool compound in H3R research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10848-10866
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number23
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Nov 2019


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