Chromatographic separation of the interconverting enantiomers of imidazo- and triazole-fused benzodiazepines

Rocchina Sabia, Alessia Ciogli, Marco Pierini, Roberta Franzini, Antonia Iazzetti, Claudio Villani

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


The toolbox of medicinal chemists includes the 1,4-benzodiazepine scaffold as a “privileged scaffold” in drug discovery. Several biologically active small molecules containing a 1,4-benzodiazepine scaffold have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of various diseases, with most of them being used for their psychotropic effects. The therapeutic potential of 1,4-benzodiazepines has stimulated the interest of synthetic chemists in developing new synthetic strategies to a range of substituted analogues for biological evaluation. A structural variation of the classical benzodiazepine skeleton is observed e.g. in alprazolam, midazolam, and related benzodiazepines, which contain a 1,2,4-triazole or an imidazole ring fused to the benzodiazepine core. Irrespective of the presence of the fused heterocyclic ring, the seven-membered diazepine ring is far from planar, and its shape resembles a twist chair. Then, the unsymmetrical substitution pattern around the seven membered cycle renders these molecules chiral, as they lack any reflection-type symmetry element. However, chirality of this molecules is labile at room temperature, becausea simple ring flipping process converts one enantiomer into the other, and 1,4-benzodiazepines exist as a mixture of rapidly interconverting conformational enantiomers in solution at or near room temperature. Physical separation of the interconverting enantiomers of diazepam and of other related 1,4-benzodiazepin-2-ones can be accomplished by low temperature HPLC on chiral stationary phases (CSPs). If the HPLC column is cooled down to temperatures where the interconversion rate is sufficiently low, compared to the chromatographic separation rate, distinct separated peaks can be observed, provided the CSP is sufficiently enantioselctive. The apparent rate constants for the on-column enantiomerization and the corresponding free energy activation barriers were obtained by simulation of exchange-deformed HPLC profiles using a computer program based on the stochastic model. Here we report on the dynamic HPLC investigations carried out on a set of fused imidazo and triazolo-benzodiazepines (alprazolam, midazolam, triazolam and estazolam) The experimental dynamic chromatograms and the corresponding interconversion barriers reported in this paper show that the third fused heterocyclic ring increase the energy barrier by 2 kcal/mol.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)462148-462153
Numero di pagine6
RivistaJournal of Chromatography A
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2021


  • Benzodiazepines
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Conformational enantiomers
  • Dynamic chromatography
  • Enantiomerization energy barriers
  • Fused tricyclic benzodiazepines
  • HPLC on chiral stationary phases
  • Imidazoles
  • Low temperature HPLC
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Triazoles


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