Several spiroxatrine derivatives were synthesized and evaluated as potential NOP receptor ligands. Structural modifications of the 1,4-benzodioxane moiety of spiroxatrine have been the focus of this research project. The structure-activity relationships that emerged indicate that the presence of an H-bond donor group (hydroxyl group) is more favorable for NOP activity when it is positioned α with respect to the CH2 linked to the 1-phenyl-1,3,8-triaza-spiro[4.5]decan-4-one portion. Moreover, cis diastereoisomers of the hydroxyl derivatives4 and 22 show a moderately higher degree of stereoselectivity than trans isomers. In particular, the spiropiperidine derivative cis-4 has submicromolar agonistic activity, and it will be the reference compound for the design and synthesis of new NOP agonists
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