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Structure-Activity Relationships for Serotonin Transporter and Dopamine Receptor Selectivity

[ Vol. 5 , Issue. 3 ]


Snezana Agatonovic-Kustrin, Paul Davies and Joseph V. Turner   Pages 271 - 278 ( 8 )


Antipsychotic medications have a diverse pharmacology with affinity for serotonergic, dopaminergic, adrenergic, histaminergic and cholinergic receptors. Their clinical use now also includes the treatment of mood disorders, thought to be mediated by serotonergic receptor activity. The aim of our study was to characterise the molecular properties of antipsychotic agents, and to develop a model that would indicate molecular specificity for the dopamine (D2) receptor and the serotonin (5-HT) transporter. Back-propagation artificial neural networks (ANNs) were trained on a dataset of 47 ligands categorically assigned antidepressant or antipsychotic utility. The structure of each compound was encoded with 63 calculated molecular descriptors. ANN parameters including hidden neurons and input descriptors were optimised based on sensitivity analyses, with optimum models containing between four and 14 descriptors. Predicted binding preferences were in excellent agreement with clinical antipsychotic or antidepressant utility. Validated models were further tested by use of an external prediction set of five drugs with unknown mechanism of action. The SAR models developed revealed the importance of simple molecular characteristics for differential binding to the D2 receptor and the 5-HT transporter. These included molecular size and shape, solubility parameters, hydrogen donating potential, electrostatic parameters, stereochemistry and presence of nitrogen. The developed models and techniques employed are expected to be useful in the rational design of future therapeutic agents


Theoretical descriptors, ANN, QSAR, 5-HT transporter, SERT, D2 receptor


School of Medicine–Rural Clinical Division, The University of Queensland, Locked Bag 9009 , Toowoomba QLD 4350, Australia.

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