Guanidino Acids Act as ρ1 GABAC Receptor Antagonists
Analogues of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) incorporating an isothiouronium salt as a replacement for a protonated amino functional group have been investigated for activity on: GABA receptors in the guinea-pig ileum; [3H]-GABA and [3H]-diazepam binding to rat brain membranes; and GABA uptake and transamination. For the homologous series of omega-isothiouronium alkanoic acids, maximum GABA-mimetic activity was found at 3-[(aminoiminomethyl)thio]propanoic acid. Introduction of unsaturation into this compound gave two isomeric conformationally restricted analogues. The trans isomer was inactive at GABA receptors while the cis compound ((Z)-3-[(aminoiminomethyl)thio]prop-2-enoic acid (ZAPA)) was more potent than muscimol and GABA as a GABA agonist with respect to low affinity GABA receptor sites. Both isomers were moderately potent at inhibiting the uptake of [3H]-GABA into rat brain slices. Comparison of possible conformations of the two unsaturated isomers by interactive computer graphics modelling and comparison with muscimol has led to a plausible active conformation of ZAPA, which may be a selective and potent agonist for low affinity GABA binding sites.