The pictet-spengler reaction updates its habits

Andrea Calcaterra*, Laura Mangiardi, Giuliano Delle Monache, Deborah Quaglio, Silvia Balducci, Simone Berardozzi*, Antonia Iazzetti, Roberta Franzini, Bruno Botta, Francesca Ghirga

*Autore corrispondente per questo lavoro

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


The Pictet-Spengler reaction (P-S) is one of the most direct, efficient, and variable synthetic method for the construction of privileged pharmacophores such as tetrahydroisoquinolines (THIQs), tetrahydro-β-carbolines (THBCs), and polyheterocyclic frameworks. In the lustro (five-year period) following its centenary birthday, the P-S reaction did not exit the stage but it came up again on limelight with new features. This review focuses on the interesting results achieved in this period (2011–2015), analyzing the versatility of this reaction. Classic P-S was reported in the total synthesis of complex alkaloids, in combination with chiral catalysts as well as for the generation of libraries of compounds in medicinal chemistry. The P-S has been used also in tandem reactions, with the sequences including ring closing metathesis, isomerization, Michael addition, and Gold- or Brønsted acid-catalyzed N-acyliminium cyclization. Moreover, the combination of P-S reaction with Ugi multicomponent reaction has been exploited for the construction of highly complex polycyclic architectures in few steps and high yields. The P-S reaction has also been successfully employed in solid-phase synthesis, affording products with different structures, including peptidomimetics, synthetic heterocycles, and natural compounds. Finally, the enzymatic version of P-S has been reported for biosynthesis, biotransformations, and bioconjugations.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)414-495
Numero di pagine82
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2020


  • Alkaloid
  • Alkaloids
  • Biological Products
  • Cascade reaction
  • Cyclization
  • Models, Molecular
  • Multicomponent reaction
  • Natural products
  • Pictet-Spengler
  • Ruthenium
  • THBC
  • THIQ
  • Tetrahydro-β-carboline
  • Tetrahydroisoquinoline
  • Total synthesis


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