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 (α1β3γ2s) 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 μM cis,cis-isomer resulted in an approximately 2- to 3-fold enhancement of the EC20 GABA current. Coapplications of 30 μM 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,trans-isomer. 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 β3 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.
- Received September 9, 2015.
- Accepted March 22, 2016.
This work was supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute [Grant 52007557 (to C.J.C. and S.G.)], a Smith College Tomlinson Award [(to L.C.)], the Blakeslee Foundation [(to A.C.H.)], and the European Social Fund [Project 1.2.0401.09-0079, University of Tartu (to G.G.P.)].
- Copyright © 2016 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics