Discovery of new potent dual sigma receptor/GluN2b ligands with antioxidant property as neuroprotective agents

Daniele Zampieri, Sara Fortuna, Antonella Calabretti, Maurizio Romano, Renzo Menegazzi, Dirk Schepmann, Bernhard Wünsch, Simona Collina, Davide Zanon, Maria Grazia Mamolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Among several potential applications, sigma receptors (σRs) can be used as neuroprotective agents, antiamnesic, antipsychotics and against other neurodegenerative disorders. On the other hands, antagonists of the GluN2b-subunit-containing-N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are of major interest for the same purpose, being this subunit expressed in specific areas of the central nervous system and responsible for the excitatory regulation of nerve cells. Under these premises, we have synthesized and biologically tested novel hybrid derivatives obtained from the combination of phenyloxadiazolone and dihydroquinolinone scaffolds with different amine moieties, peculiar of σ2R ligands. Most of the new ligands exhibited a pan-affinity towards both σR subtypes and high affinity against GluN2b subunit. The most promising compounds belong to the dihydroquinolinone series, with the best affinity profile for the cyclohexylpiperazine derivative 28. Investigation on their biological activity showed that the new compounds were able to protect SH-SY5Y cells against oxidative stress induced by hydrogen peroxide treatment. These results proved that our dual σR/GluN2b ligands have beneficial effects in a model of neuronal oxidative stress and can represent strong candidate pharmacotherapeutic agents for minimizing oxidative stress-induced neuronal injuries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-282
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - Oct 15 2019


  • Antioxidant activity
  • GluN2B receptor
  • Molecular dynamics
  • Neuroprotective activity
  • Pan-affinity
  • Sigma receptors (σRs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry


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