• Novel dual D3R/GSK-3β modulators: an innovative multitarget strategy for bipolar disorder
  • Seghetti, Francesca <1989>


  • CHIM/08 Chimica farmaceutica


  • Among the psychiatric diseases, bipolar disorder (BD) is the sixth leading cause of disability with a prevalence up to 4 % worldwide. BD is a complex neuropsychiatric condition which alternates episodes of mania with symptoms of depression. Although the neurobiological pathways are not completely clarified, the dopamine (DA) hypothesis, recognized as the leading theory explaining the pathophysiology of the malady, states that the dramatically compromised homeostatic regulation of dopaminergic circuits leads to alternated changes in DA neurotransmission. Modulation of D2 and D3 receptors (D2/3R) through partial agonists represents the first-line therapeutic strategy for psychiatric diseases. Moreover, a deregulation of the enzyme glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) has been reported as peculiar feature of BD. In this scenario, the concomitant modulation of D3R and GSK-3β, by employing multitarget compounds, could offer promises to achieve an effective cure of this illness. In the light of these findings, we rationally envisaged the pharmacophoric model at the basis of the design of several D3R partial agonists, suitable to be exploited for the dual D3R/GSK-3β ligand design. Thus, synthetic efforts were addressed to develop a first set of hybrid molecules able to concurrently modulate the selected targets. For a chemical structure point of view, we employed different spacers to combine a substituted aryl-piperazine moiety, reported in previously discovered D3R modulators, with a pyrazole-based fragment, already identified in GSK-3β inhibitors. A fluorescent and a cellular functional assays were carried out to assess the activity of all synthetized compounds against GSK-3β and on D3R, respectively. Most of the derivatives proved to effectively modulate both GSK-3β and D3R with potencies in the low-µM and low-nM range, respectively. The consistent biological data allowed us to identify some lead candidates worth to be further modified with the aim to optimize their biological profile and to perform a structure-activity relationship (SAR) study.


  • 2020-04-03


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Seghetti, Francesca (2020) Novel dual D3R/GSK-3β modulators: an innovative multitarget strategy for bipolar disorder, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze biotecnologiche e farmaceutiche , 32 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/9280.