Discovery of Potent and Brain-Penetrant GPR52 Agonist that Suppresses Psychostimulant Behavior

Pingyuan Wang, Daniel Felsing, Haiying Chen, Sonja J. Stutz, Ryan Murphy, Kathryn Cunningham, John Allen, Jia Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The G protein-coupled receptor 52 (GPR52) is an orphan receptor that is selectively expressed in the striatum and regulates various brain functions through activation of cAMP-dependent pathways. GPR52 has been identified as a promising therapeutic target for central nervous system disorders including schizophrenia and substance use disorders. Here, a series of novel GPR52 agonists were designed, synthesized, and evaluated based on compound 4. Several potent and efficacious GPR52 agonists (12c, 23a, 23d, 23e, 23f, and 23h) were identified with nanomolar range potency based on a systematic structure-activity relationship exploration. Further studies of 12c indicate enhanced efficacy, excellent target selectivity, and pharmacokinetic properties including good brain permeability. In vivo proof-of-concept investigations revealed that 12c displayed antipsychotic-like activity by significantly inhibiting amphetamine-induced hyperlocomotor behavior in mice. Collectively, our findings have resulted in an efficacious, brain-penetrant GPR52 agonist as a valuable pharmacological tool for investigating the physiological and therapeutic potential of GPR52 activation.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13951
Number of pages13972
JournalJournal of Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 25 2020


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