- (1) National Institute on Drug Abuse, grid.420090.f
- (2) Johns Hopkins University, grid.21107.35
- (3) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU
The development of medications to treat cocaine use disorders has thus far defied success, leaving this patient population without pharmacotherapeutic options. As the dopamine transporter (DAT) plays a prominent role in the reinforcing effects of cocaine that can lead to addiction, atypical DAT inhibitors have been developed that prevent cocaine from binding to DAT, but they themselves are not cocaine-like. Herein, a series of novel DAT inhibitors were synthesized, and based on its pharmacological profile, the lead compound 10a was evaluated in phase I metabolic stability studies in mouse liver microsomes and compared to cocaine in locomotor activity and drug discrimination paradigms in mice. A molecular dynamic simulation study supported the hypothesis that atypical DAT inhibitors have similar binding poses at DAT in a conformation that differs from that of cocaine. Such differences may ultimately contribute to their unique behavioral profiles and potential for development as cocaine use disorder therapeutics.