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Anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like effects of new phenylpiperazine derivative LQFM005 and its hydroxylated metabolite in mice
Behavioural Brain Research  (IF3.332),  Pub Date : 2021-09-15, DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2021.113582
Lorrane Kelle da Silva Moreira, Rafaela Ribeiro Silva, Dayane Moreira da Silva, Mirella Andrade Silva Mendes, Adriane Ferreira de Brito, Flávio Souza de Carvalho, Germán Sanz, Marcella Ferreira Rodrigues, Artur Christian Garcia da Silva, Douglas Vieira Thomaz, Valéria de Oliveira, Boniek Gontijo Vaz, Luciano Morais Lião, Marize Campos Valadares, Eric de Souza Gil, Elson Alves Costa, François Noël, Ricardo Menegatti

The current treatments available for anxiety and depression are only palliative. Full remission has remained elusive, characterizing unmet medical needs. In the scope of an academic drug discovery program, we describe here the design, synthesis, in vitro metabolism prediction and pharmacological characterization of a new piperazine compound, 1-(4-methoxyphenyl)−4-((1-phenyl-1H-pyrazol-4-yl)methyl)piperazine (LQFM005), and of its main putative metabolite, 4-(4-((4-(4-methoxyphenyl)piperazin-1-yl)methyl)− 1H-pyrazol-1-yl)phenol (LQFM235). The production of the metabolite was initially performed by in vitro biotransformation of LQFM005 using Aspergillus candidus and then by chemical synthesis. Oral administration of either 12 or 24 µmol/kg LQFM005 to mice did not affect spontaneous locomotor activity but increased the time spent in the center of the open field. Both LQFM005 and LQFM235 (24 µmol/kg) increased the time spent by the mice in the open arms of the elevated plus maze (EPM), a good indication of anxiolytic-like effect, and decreased the immobility time in the forced swimming test (FST), suggesting an antidepressant-like effect. The previous administration of WAY-100635 (a 5-HT1A antagonist) abolished the effects of LQFM005 in both EPM and FST. Binding experiments showed that LQFM005 and its metabolite bind to the 5-HT1A receptor with a moderate affinity (Ki around 5–9 µM). The two compounds are relatively safe, as indicated by cytotoxic assessment using the 3T3 fibroblast cell line and estimated LD50 around 600 mg/kg. In conclusion, oral administration of the newly synthesized phenylpiperazines produced anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like effects in behavioral tests, putatively in part through the activation of 5-HT1A receptors.