Differential Potency of 2,6-Dimethylcyclohexanol Isomers for Positive Modulation of GABAA Receptor Currents

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The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics


GABAA receptors meet all of the pharmacological requirements necessary to be considered important targets for the action of general anesthetic agents in the mammalian brain. In the following patch-clamp study, the relative modulatory effects of 2,6-dimethylcyclohexanol diastereomers were investigated on human GABAA (a1b3g2s) receptor currents stably expressed in human embryonic kidney cells. Cis,cis-, trans,trans-, and cis, trans-isomers were isolated from commercially available 2,6- dimethylcyclohexanol and were tested for positive modulation of submaximal GABA responses. For example, the addition of 30 mM cis,cis-isomer resulted in an approximately 2- to 3-fold enhancement of the EC20 GABA current. Coapplications of 30 mM 2,6-dimethylcyclohexanol isomers produced a range of positive enhancements of control GABA responses with a rank order for positive modulation: cis,cis . trans,trans $ mixture of isomers . . cis,transisomer. In molecular modeling studies, the three cyclohexanol isomers bound with the highest binding energies to a pocket within transmembrane helices M1 and M2 of the b3 subunit through hydrogen-bonding interactions with a glutamine at the 224 position and a tyrosine at the 220 position. The energies for binding to and hydrogen-bond lengths within this pocket corresponded with the relative potencies of the agents for positive modulation of GABAA receptor currents (cis,cis . trans,trans . cis,trans-2,6-dimethylcyclohexanol). In conclusion, the stereochemical configuration within the dimethylcyclohexanols is an important molecular feature in conferring positive modulation of GABAA receptor activity and for binding to the receptor, a consideration that needs to be taken into account when designing novel anesthetics with enhanced therapeutic indices.



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