Publication date: Jun 28, 2023
There is concern for important adverse effects with use of second-generation antipsychotics in Parkinson’s disease psychosis (PDP) and dementia-related psychosis. Pimavanserin is the only antipsychotic drug authorized for PDP and represents an inverse agonist of 5-HT receptors (5-HT2AR) lacking affinity for dopamine receptors. Therefore, the development of serotonin 5-HT2AR inverse agonists without dopaminergic activity represents a challenge for different neuropsychiatric disorders. Using ligand-based drug design, we discovered a novel structure of pimavanserin analogues (2, 3, and 4). In vitro competition receptor binding and functional G protein coupling assays demonstrated that compounds 2, 3, and 4 showed higher potency than pimavanserin as 5-HT2AR inverse agonists in the human brain cortex and recombinant cells. To assess the effect of molecular substituents for selectivity and inverse agonism at 5-HT2ARs, molecular docking and in silico predicted physicochemical parameters were performed. Docking studies were in agreement with in vitro screenings and the results resembled pimavanserin.