Functional Activity of Enantiomeric Oximes and Diastereomeric Amines and Cyano Substituents at C9 in 3-Hydroxy-N-phenethyl-5-phenylmorphans

Hudson G. Roth, Madhurima Das, Agnieszka Sulima, Dan Luo, Sophia Kaska, Thomas E. Prisinzano, Andrew T. Kerr, Arthur E. Jacobson, Kenner C. Rice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The synthesis of stereochemically pure oximes, amines, saturated and unsaturated cyanomethyl compounds, and methylaminomethyl compounds at the C9 position in 3-hydroxy-N-phenethyl-5-phenylmorphans provided μ-opioid receptor (MOR) agonists with varied efficacy and potency. One of the most interesting compounds, (2-((1S,5R,9R)-5-(3-hydroxyphenyl)-2-phenethyl-2-azabicyclo[3.3.1]nonan-9-yl)acetonitrile), was found to be a potent partial MOR agonist (EC50 = 2.5 nM, %Emax = 89.6%), as determined in the forskolin-induced cAMP accumulation assay. Others ranged in potency and efficacy at the MOR, from nanomolar potency with a C9 cyanomethyl compound (EC50 = 0.85 nM) to its totally inactive diastereomer, and three compounds exhibited weak MOR antagonist activity (the primary amine 3, the secondary amine 8, and the cyanomethyl compound 41). Many of the compounds were fully efficacious; their efficacy and potency were affected by both the stereochemistry of the molecule and the specific C9 substituent. Most of the MOR agonists were selective in their receptor interactions, and only a few had δ-opioid receptor (DOR) or κ-opioid receptor (KOR) agonist activity. Only one compound, a C9-methylaminomethyl-substituted phenylmorphan, was moderately potent and fully efficacious as a KOR agonist (KOR EC50 = 18 nM (% Emax = 103%)).

Original languageEnglish
Issue number9
StatePublished - Apr 23 2024


  • 3-(2-phenethyl-2-azabicyclo[3.3.1]nonan-5-yl)phenol
  • chiral C9 amino
  • cyanomethyl
  • diastereomeric
  • enantiomeric
  • inhibition of forskolin-induced cAMP accumulation assay (cAMP assay)
  • methylamino
  • methylaminomethyl-substituted 5-phenylmorphans
  • stereochemical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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